Lady Fatima Masuma (a) of Qum

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Lady Fatima Masuma (a) was the daughter of the 7th Imam, Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a), and the sister of the 8th Imam, Imam Ali al-Rida (a). She was a noble lady who dedicated her life to Islam and Allah. She is buried in the city of Qum in Iran. This book includes her biography, education, and narration of traditions. It also includes the history and description of her shrine and a brief look at the city of Qum.

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Published by: Jami‘at al-Zahra Islamic Seminary for Women - Qum First Edition 2003 – 1424 - 1382 Distributed by: Ansariyan Publications P.O. Box 187 22 Shohada St., Qum Islamic Republic of Iran Tel: ++89 251 7741744 Fax: 7742647 Email: ansarian@noornet.net www.ansariyan.net & www.ansariyan.org

Foreword

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, Who has guided us to this, for we would not have been guided except by His guidance. May the salutation and blessings of Allah shower on the last and best of His Prophets, Muhammad Mustafā (S) and the sinless members of his progeny (A).

In the autumn of 2002, my family and I were blessed with the opportunity to come and pursue our studies in the city of Qum in Iran. I was immediately struck by the influence and effect that the presence of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) has on the inhabitants of the city.

I tried to find out more about this holy personality and discovered that hardly any material is available about her in the English language; of course, there was material in Persian, which I had just started to learn.

I distinctly remember sitting at her shrine, upset because the Persian language was proving difficult to master; at the time I made a pact with the noble lady, “Bless me in the task of learning this language and I will first use this knowledge to write your biography in English!”

This book is the result of that noble lady’s blessing and love for all those who reside in her city. Alhamdulillah, it was completed on the birthday of her noble father, Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim (A).

I would like first and foremost to thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to have spent 9 months in this holy city. I would next like to thank my children, Shaahid Hasan, Tahira Mahdiyya and Mujtaba Husain for their help in typing this book and their enthusiasm. And of course my husband, Abbas for his encouragement, criticism, editing and patience.

I would also like to thank my tutor, Agha Mohammed Ali Shomali, for meticulously proof-reading the book and for his valuable suggestions and input.

This book is dedicated for the pleasure and approval of Allah, and in honour of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and her grandfather the Prophet of Allah (S) and the Pure Members of his household (A). May Allah accept this small token from all of us.

Some Notes on the Transliteration

In the book, some of the names of individuals and places, that may be less well-known, have been transliterated as a guide to pronunciation.
The key is as follows:

Arabic letter Transliteration
ع `
ض D
ذ dh
ح h
ص s
ط t
ث th
ظ đ

ā for the long vowel, pronounced as in car
ī for the long vowel, pronounced as in meet
ū for the long vowel, pronounced as in boot

Masuma Jaffer
Qum, Iran
7th Safar 1424 A.H
10th April 2003 C.E

Introduction

Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was the daughter of the 7th Imam, Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim (A) and the sister of the 8th Imam, Imam Ali al-Ridā (A). She was a noble lady who dedicated her life to Islam and Allah. She was highly gifted and due to the training of her father and brother, she has achieved a high reputation in history for her knowledge and piety.

She was only six years old when her father was arrested by Hārūn (the 6th Abbasid Caliph) and thereafter, she was brought up under the care of her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A) for twenty-one years.

In the year 200 A.H, Ma’mūn (the 7th Abbasid Caliph) forced the Imam (A) to move from Madina to Khurāsān, in Iran. And so, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was once more separated from her guardian.

In the year 201 A.H, she decided to leave Madina and travel to Khurāsān to be at the side of her brother, intending to help him in his mission to preach Islam. But regrettably, she never reached him.

The caravan that she was travelling with, was ambushed at Sāweh, where she had to witness the brutal killing of her close family members. As a result, she can be compared to Lady Zaynab (A), who suffered a similar plight in Karbalā.

Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was taken ill at Sāweh. From here, the Shi`a of the nearby Qum brought her to their city, where she spent her last few days, before passing away during the month of Rabī` al-Thānī in 201 A.H.

Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is buried in Qum, Iran. Due to her blessed presence and patronage, the city has grown into a centre of Shi`a learning; a destination for thousands of Muslim students from over 80 countries.

The Mirror Tiled Porch Entrance to the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), from the New Courtyard

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Life in Qum largely revolves around the Haram of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), which is the focal point of this holy city.

Every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the world to pay homage to this noble lady. They come to pay their respect to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in accordance to the reliable traditions of three Holy Imams (A) which are quoted below:

From the 6th Imam, Imam Ja`far al-Şādiq (A):

تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدى، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتي الجنّة بَأجْمَعِهِمْ

“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”1

From the 8th Imam, Imam Ali al-Ridā (A):

مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَني

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me.”2

From the 9th Imam, Imam Muhammad Taqī al-Jawād (A):

مَنْ زارَ عَمَّتي بِقُمَّ فَلَهُ الجَنَّةُ

"Whoever visits my aunt in Qum will enter Heaven.”3
  • 1. `Allāmah Muhammad Bāqir Majlisī, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 228; Qādī Nūrullāh Shūshtarī, Majālis al-Mu’minīn, vol. 1, p. 83.
  • 2. Mīrzā Muhammed Taqī Khān Sepehr, Nāsikh al-Tawārikh, vol. 3, p. 68; Shaykh Dhabīhullāh Mahallātī, Rayāhīn al-Sharī`ah, vol. 5, p. 35.
  • 3. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 102, p. 265.
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The Biography of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

1.1 - Predictions about this Noble Lady

It is interesting to know that the Imams (A) foretold the birth of this noble lady and her presence in Qum many years before her birth.

Qādī Nūrullāh Shūshtarī (d. 1109 A.H) reports from the 6th Imam, Imam Ja`far al-Sādiq (A):

تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدى، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتى الجنّة بَاجْمَعِهِمْ

“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the Day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”1

`Allāmah Majlisī narrates from Imam al-Sādiq (A):

وَسَتُدْفَنُ فيها امْرَأةٌ مِنْ اَوْلادى تُسَمّى فاطِمَةَ، فَمَنْ زارَها وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الجنّة

“A lady from my children, by the name of Fatima will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits her [shrine], will certainly be admitted to Heaven.”2

The writer of the above tradition says that Imam al-Sādiq (A) gave these glad tidings even before the birth of his son, the 7th Imam, Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim (A), the father of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

Since Imam al-Kāđim (A) was born in 128 A.H and Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in 173 A.H; this speech was made at least 45 years before her birth. Therefore, the good news of her birth was foretold more than 45 years before she was born!

1.2 - The date of her birth

According to certain traditions, some of which are mentioned below, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was born on the 1st of Dhul Qa`dah, 173 A.H in Madina.

1. The narrator Ayatollah Shaykh Ali Namāzī (d. 1405 A.H) writes:“Fatima Masuma was born at the beginning of the month of Dhul Qa`dah in the year 173 A.H”3

2. Mullā Muhsin Fayd narrates:
“Lady Fatima [Masuma], daughter of Imam al-Kāđim (A) was born in Madina at the beginning of the month Dhul Qa`dah in the year 173 A.H and she passed away in Qum on the 10th of the month Rabī` al-Thānī in the year 201 A.H.4

Others who have also written that the birth of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is in the beginning of the month of Dhul Qa`dah are mentioned below:
1. `Allāmah Bahrānī in his book `Awālim al-`Ulūm, vol. 21, p. 328.

2. Shaykh Mahdi Mansūrī in his book Hayāt Al-Sadāt, p. 10.

3. Dr. Muhammad Hādī Amīnī in his book timah Bint al-Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim, p. 21.

4. Ahmad Zādeh in his book Zendegānī Hadrat Mūsā Ibn Ja`far, vol. 2, p. 375.

Some of the authors above have recorded the year of the birth of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) as 183 A.H instead of 173 A.H, but this is incorrect on account of two major points, which are:

    i. If we study the details of Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim’s (A) life we see that on the 25th Rajab 183 A.H he died in prison in Baghdad. We also know the minimum amount of time that he spent in prison was four years and during this imprisonment, his family was in Madina. So it cannot be possible for Lady Fatima Masuma (A) to be born in this same year of 183 A.H.

    ii. Also, it is well documented that Imam al-Kāđim (A) had more than one daughter named Fatima, and that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was the eldest Fatima (timat al-Kubrā), therefore she could not have been born in the same year as the year of her father’s death.

From the foregoing, it can be seen that it is not possible that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was born in the year 183 A.H, and the authors who have quoted this date have made a mistake, (either in counting or writing) and should have recorded 173 A.H.

1.3 - The date of her death

There is no difference of opinion about the fact that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) died in Qum in the year 201 A.H. The year of her death is further corroborated by the tiles in her shrine, dating back from centuries ago, which have the same date written on them.5

However, there are various possibilities about the month and day of her death:
1. 10th Rabī` al-Thānī6
2. 12th Rabī` al-Thānī7
3. 8th Sha`bān8

There is no evidence to say which of the three dates is correct, and so the scholars have decided that because the first and the second dates are so close together, the mourning for the death of this noble lady should be over a three day period (10th, 11th and 12th of Rabī` al-Thānī).

This three day period is called: ايّام معصوميّة – “the days of Masuma”.
Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was about 28 years old when she died, although some scholars have said that at the time of her death her age was 18 (from the mistake of the year of her birth - 183 A.H instead of 173 A.H) and others have said her age was 23, but this last narration is not very reliable, due to its weak chain of transmission.

1.4 - Her father

The father of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was the 7th Imam – Imam Mūsā al-Kāđim (A). It has been recorded in history that Imam al-Kāđim (A) had numerous children.

Shaykh Mufīd (d. 413 A.H) writes that Imam al-Kāđim (A) had 37 children (whom he has named), 19 sons and 18 daughters; and that two of these daughters were named Fatima – Fatima al-Kubrā and Fatima al-Sughrā.9

Sibt ibn Jawzī, the famous 8th century scholar of the Ahl al-Sunnah, narrates that four daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A) were named Fatima: Fatima al-Kubrā, Fatima al-Wustā, Fatima al-Sughrā and Fatima al-Ukhrā.10

Fatima al-Kubrā is the very same Lady Fatima Masuma (A) buried in Qum.
It is narrated that Fatima al-Wustā is buried in Isfahān and her Haram is called Sittī Fatima (near Chāhār Sūq Shīrāzī-hā).
Fatima al-Sughrā is well known as “Bībī Heybat”. She is buried in Azerbaijan,11 where the beautiful dome and gardens at her shrine were destroyed during the era of Communist Russia.
Fatima al-Ukhrā, who is also known as Fatima Tāhira, is buried in Rasht, Iran.12

The contemporary researcher, `Allāmah Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī writes: Amongst all the children of Imam al-Kāđim (A), other than Imam Ali al-Ridā (A) there was no one equal in status to Lady Fatima Masuma (A).13

In 173 A.H, Hārūn al-Rashīd became the Caliph. Six years later, on the 20th Shawwāl 179 A.H, he ordered Imam al-Kađim (A) to be arrested in Madina. At the time of his arrest, Imam (A) was in the state of prayers in the Prophet’s (S) mosque. After his arrest, he was brought to Iraq, where he was imprisoned in the dungeons of Baghdad. This is where the Imam (A) spent the rest of his life.

Hārūn had the Imam (A) poisoned, and he died in the prison of Baghdad on the 24th or the 25th of Rajab in the year 183 A.H. He is buried in the “Maqābir Quraysh” which is now known as Kāđimayn, because the 9th Imam – Imam Muhammad al-Taqī (A) is also buried there.14

From the dates above, we can conclude that the Imam (A) was in prison for four years. However, some historians have quoted that his time in prison was seven years, and Ibn Jawzī has mentioned that it was eleven years.15

1.5 - Her mother

The mother of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was also the mother of the 8th Imam – Imam Ali al-Ridā (A) and she had no children other than these two.

She was known by several names, the most well known of them was Najmah Khātūn.16
Lady Najmah was a slave from North Africa and was bought by Lady Hamīdah, the mother of Imam al-Kāđim (A). After she came into the house of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), she reached a high level of intellectual and spiritual excellence, with lessons and teachings from Lady Hamīdah.

Lady Hamīdah narrates that one night she had a dream, where she saw the Prophet (S) and he said to her: ‘Make Najmah the wife of your son, Mūsā ibn Ja`far, so that soon the best of people in the world (Imam al-Ridā (A)) will be born from her.17 Lady Hamīdah acted upon this order, and so Najmah became the wife of Imam al-Kāđim (A) and later, the mother of Imam al-Ridā (A) and Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

Some of the other names mentioned for Lady Najmah are:
Tuktam: This was a popular name amongst the Arabs, and it was the name of the mother of Imam al-Ridā and Lady Fatima Masuma (A) at the time when she was bought as a slave.
The name Tuktam was also used to refer to the well of Zamzam (the well near the Ka`bah) in the dream of Abdul Muttalib, when he was told to dig up and find the hidden well, and in this way it seems a very appropriate name for Najmah Khātūn whose excellence was also hidden at the time of her slavery.18

Umm al-Banīn: This was the only title that was given to her; the meaning of this title is the “mother of boys” although Najmah Khātūn only had two children – Imam al-Ridā (A) and Lady Fatima Masuma (A). Due to the nobleness of both of her children, she had this title “Umm al-Banīn” given to her.19

Tāhira: It has been narrated that after giving birth to Imam Ali al-Ridā (A) on 11th Dhul Qa`dah in the year 148 A.H in Madina, she was known as Tāhira, which has the meaning of purity.20
Although Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was born 25 years after Imam al-Ridā (A), the fact that they had the same mother and father, led to a special closeness between them.

1.6 - The names and titles of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

It has been emphasised in many traditions that the choosing of a suitable name for a child is the responsibility of the father.21 The recommendation is that, if the child is a boy, then the name of the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A), especially the names Muhammad and Ali should be chosen for him.22 And for a daughter there is no name more suitable than Fatima.23

The Imams (A), due to their high esteem of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) would accord great respect and reverence to the name ‘Fatima’. So much so, that when one of his companions informed Imam al-Sādiq (A) that he had chosen the name Fatima for his daughter, the Imam (A) exclaimed: “Ah, Ah.” Then he said: “Now that you have kept her name Fatima, be careful not to ever curse or beat her.”24

And it was due to this respect that the Imams (A) would name their children by these holy names, and usually more than one child had the fortune to have such a noble name. Especially so in the case of Imam al-Kāđim (A), who named four of his daughters Fatima, as mentioned previously. We know that the name of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was Fatima (al-Kubrā).

Masuma: The title of Masuma was given to this noble lady by her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A). It is worth noting that this title was awarded to her after her death and she was not referred to by this name during her life-time. This also nullifies the erroneous view that she died after her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A), on hearing the news of his death.

Mirzā Muhammad Taqī (d. 1297 A.H) reports that the title “Masuma” was given to her by her brother – Imam al-Ridā (A). And according to this tradition Imam al-Ridā (A) said:

مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَني

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me.”25

The question arises, was this title “Masuma” given to her to indicate her sinless status? In other words, was she infallible in the same sense as the 14 Ma`sūmīn (The Prophet, Lady Fatima Zahra and the 12 Imams – peace be upon them all), who are considered sinless and Divinely protected according to the verse of Purity:

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

“Verily, Allah intends to keep all uncleanliness away from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and to purify you thoroughly.”26

Several scholars believe that some of the noble personalities from the household of the Prophet (S), such as Lady Zaynab (A), Hadrat `Abbās (A) and Lady Fatima Masuma (A), due to their proximity to the Ma`sūmīn (A) have acquired a high state of purity.

Infallibility (al-`ismah) has two meanings: Infallible from error and infallible from sin. When speaking of the infallibility of the Ma`sūmīn (A), both these meanings apply, but when speaking about special and noble people, such as Lady Zaynab (A), Hadrat `Abbās (A) or Lady Fatima Masuma (A), the latter meaning of infallible from sin is meant.

Here we do not have the space to discuss this issue, but we can mention that the Imams (A) never falsely praised anyone, and the fact that the Imam al-Ridā (A) gave the title of Masuma to his sister is proof that she deserved such a title.

Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt: This title, meaning “the Noble one of the family of the Prophet (S)” was given to her by either Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-Sādiq (A) in a dream seen by Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmūd Mar`ashī Najafī, the author of Mashjirat al-`Ālawīyīn.

This noble man was very interested in finding the exact location of the burial place of Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and for this purpose he spent 40 days supplicating, so that he could be privileged with this information.

On the 40th night, after the completion of his prayers, he went to sleep and in his dream he saw himself present at the grave of either Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-Sādiq (A) (both of whom are buried in Jannat al-Baqī` in Madina). Imam (A) said to him:

عَلَيْكَ بِكَريمَـةِ اَهْـلِ الْبَيْتِ

“I advise you to go to the Karīmat (Noble one)
of the Ahl al-Bayt”

He thought that by Karīmat Ahl al-Bayt, Imam (A) was referring to Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and so he answered, “Yes, I have been supplicating for this very purpose, so that I may know the exact place of the holy grave of this noble personality, enabling me to perform her pilgrimage.”

The Imam (A) said, “I meant the holy grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in Qum.” Then the Imam (A) added, “It is Allah’s desire that the location of the holy grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) be hidden from everyone.”

Therefore, the Imam (A) has placed the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in place of the grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A), and so all the honour and grandeur that would have been accorded to the grave of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) should be given to the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

On waking from his dream, the late Mar`ashī made an intention to travel to Qum with his family, in order to perform the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and he carried out this intention without any delay.27 He died in Najaf, in the year 1338 A.H.

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Shahāb al-Dīn Marashī Najafī, the illustrious son of the late Mar`ashī, migrated to Iran in the year 1342 A.H. He often cited that one of the reasons for his emigration to Iran was the dream of his father.

After a short stay in Tehran, he entered the seminary in Qum, al-Hawzah al-‘Ilmīyah, in the year 1343 A.H, and here he lived, in the proximity of the Karīmat of Ahl al-Bayt – Lady Fatima Masuma (A) – until his death in the year 1411 A.H.

For over sixty years, every morning, the late Shahāb al-Dīn Mar`ashī, was the first person to perform the pilgrimage of this noble lady. He would wait outside her shrine for the doors to be opened.

Even during his final illness before his death, he requested to be carried to her shrine in order to perform her pilgrimage.

Other titles that have been given to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) are:
1. Tāhirah 6. Naqīyah
2. Hamīdah 7. Rādīyah
3. Bārrah 8. Mardīyah
4. Rashīdah 9. Sayyidah
5. Taqīyah 10. Ukht al-Ridā.

All of these ten titles can be found in her salutation (Ziyārat), which has been narrated by Shaykh Muhammad Ali Qummī in his book, Anwār al-Musha`sha`īn. This salutation for Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is other than the more famous one that has been narrated by `Allāmah Majlisī in Bihār al-Anwār, quoting from Imam al-Ridā (A).

1.7 - The high status of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

In the salutation (Ziyārat) of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) which has been narrated from Imam al-Ridā (A) (the salutation is quoted in the final chapter of this book), one reads:

وَاَنْ لا يَسْلُبَنا مَعْرِفَتَكُمْ اِنَّهُ وَلىُّ قَديرٌ

“(We ask from Allah) not to deprive us from understanding your status. Indeed, He is the Protector and has Power over everything.”

And so in this chapter we will attempt to understand something of the great status of this noble lady. Some traditions that are indicative of her status are mentioned below:

1. The authentic tradition from Imam al-Ridā (A):

مَنْ زارَ الْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمْ كَمَنْ زارَنى

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum is like the one who has visited me.”28

This tradition implies that the rewards and benefits awarded to a pilgrim are the same whether he does the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) or Imam al-Ridā (A). Also, from this tradition, as discussed previously, we get the title of Masuma (infallible) that was given to this noble lady by Imam (A) himself.

1. The authentic tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A):

وَسَتُدْفَنُ فيها امْرَأةٌ مِنْ اَوْلادى تُسَمّى فاطِمَةَ، فَمَنْ زارَها وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الجنّة

“A lady from my children, by the name of Fatima will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits her [shrine], will certainly be admitted to Heaven.”29

This narration also illustrates the high status of this noble lady, because her pilgrim is ensured entry into Heaven.

3. Another authentic tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A):

تُقبَض فيها امْراةٌ منْ وُلْدي، اِسْمُها فاطِمَةُ بِنْتُ مُوسى، وتَدْخُلُ بِشَفاعَتِها شيعَتي الجنّة بَأجْمَعِهِمْ

“A lady from my children whose name will be Fatima, daughter of Mūsā, will die in Qum. On the day of Judgement this lady will intercede for all my Shi`a to enter Heaven.”30

This narration indicates the honour and position of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), who will be the means of intercession of the Shi`a of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) on the Day of Judgement.

Although there have been other traditions by the Imams (A) stating that, through the intercession of the scholars and the martyrs, people will enter Heaven, never has a non-Ma`sum been specifically named for this intercession, as in the case of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

4. The Ziyārat to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) that we have in our hand today has been narrated from Imam al-Ridā (A). Interestingly, no other non-Ma`sum has had an Imam dictate the text and manner of their Ziyārat other than Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

Also, because we know that this Ziyārat has been narrated by the Imam (A) through a reliable tradition, the virtues of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) within it must be considered true.

Some extracts from her Ziyārat are discussed here as an example:
i. In this Ziyārat, she is called:

the daughter of the Prophet of God,
the daughter of Fatima and Khadījah,
the daughter of Amīr al-Mu’minīn Ali,
the daughter of Hasan and Husain,
the daughter of the Vicegerent of God (al-Kāđim),
the sister of the Vicegerent of God (al-Ridā),
and the aunt of the Vicegerent of God (al-Jawād)
(may the blessings of Allah be on all of them).

That portion from her Ziyārat is reproduced below:

السلام عليك يا بنت رسول الله

Peace be on You, O Daughter of the Messenger of Allah!

السلام عليك يا بنت فاطمة وخديجة

Peace be on you, O Daughter of Fatima and Khadījah!

السلام عليك يا بنت امير المؤمنين

Peace be on you, O Daughter of the
Commander of the Faithful!

السلام عليك يا بنت الحسن والحسين

Peace be on you, O Daughter of Hasan and Husain!

السلام عليك يا بنت وليّ الله

Peace be on you, O Daughter of the Vicegerent of Allah!

السلام عليك يا أخت وليّ الله

Peace be on you, O Sister of the Vicegerent of Allah!

السلام عليك يا عمّة ولىّ الله

Peace be on you, O Aunt of the Vicegerent of Allah!

The above relation given of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) shows the honourable family that this noble lady comes from and also her nobility due to being a ‘true’ child of the Prophet (S), Lady Khadījah al-Kubrā, Lady Fatima Zahra (A) and the Pure Imams (A).

ii. In this Ziyārat, Imam al-Ridā (A) refers us to her for intercession, due to her nearness, status and special esteem in the eyes of Allah.

يا فاطمة ٱشفعي لي في الجنّة فانّ لك عند الله شأناً مّن الشّأن

O Fatima! Intercede for me, so that I enter Heaven, for indeed you have a great status in the eyes of Allah. 31

The intercession of this noble lady in the matter of our entrance to Heaven has been mentioned before in the authentic traditions from Imam al-Sādiq (A) and in the salutation taught by Imam al-Ridā (A).32

5. One of the noble qualities attributed to Lady Fatima Zahra (A) was that her father, the Prophet (S) would say about her:

فِدَاهَا اَبُوهَا

“May her father be sacrificed for her.”33

This phrase was also used in reference to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) by her father, Imam al-Kāđim (A).34

This statement is indeed worthy of attention because:
i. it compares the status of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) to that of Lady Fatima Zahra (A), since it is the same phrase that the Prophet (S) also used.

ii. the statement itself comes from an Imam (A) and that further emphasises the status of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

1. The shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is equivalent to the shrine of Lady Fatima Zahra (A).35

7. The coming of the two men, whose faces were not clearly seen, at the time of the burial of Lady Fatima Masuma (A). These two men, who are believed to have been Imam al-Ridā (A) and Imam al-Taqī (A), buried the noble lady.36
An infallible is always buried by an infallible. This incident in itself does not necessarily prove that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was infallible, because the Imams (A) would take part in the burial rituals of many of their followers. However, it does indicate her high status, and the fact that the Imams (A) came from afar and took over the responsibility of her burial is worth noting.

8. The number of traditions from the Imams (A) on the virtues of Qum, (mentioned in section 4.5), due to the fact that this noble lady is buried here. There is no other place where a non-Ma`sum is buried, that has been mentioned so numerously.

9. The number of miracles, that have been narrated by scores of people, in different generations (mentioned in section 3.11) has not occurred in any other place where a Prophet (S) or Imam (A) is not buried, except for the shrine of Hadrat `Abbās (A) in Karbalā and Lady Zaynab (A) in Damascus.

10. The authentic traditions that have been narrated by this noble lady (mentioned in section 1.9) show her high degree of knowledge of the various Islamic sciences and the teachings and merits of the family of the Prophet (S), in addition to her other qualities.

1.8 - Why did Lady Fatima Masuma (A) not marry?

It is almost certain that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not marry. The question arises “Why?”
We know that marriage is a highly desirable and recommended act in Islam and in regards to marriage, some of the traditions of the Prophet (S) are quoted below:

ما بُِنيَ فِى الْاِسْلامِ بِناءٌ اَحَبُّ اِلَى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَاَعَزُّ مِنَ التَّزويجِ

There is no institution more honourable and beloved to Allah, than marriage.37

النِّكاحُ سُنَّتِي، فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي

Marriage is part of my Sunnah (practice) and whoever disregards my Sunnah is not from me.38

It has been narrated that in the time of the 5th Imam, Imam al-Bāqir (A), a certain woman did not marry for the sake of honour, self discipline and gaining nearness to Allah. The Imam (A) told her: “If the abandonment of marriage gave a person more honour, then Lady Fatima Zahra (A) would not marry, for there is no woman purer and more honourable than her.39

Therefore, we can be sure that there must have been a good reason for Lady Fatima Masuma (A) not marrying. Two possible reasons are cited below:
The first reason may be due to the fact that, the daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A), especially Lady Fatima Masuma (A), were women of great distinction and to find husbands who would be compatible to them was not easy. Imam al-Kāđim (A) had therefore recommended them to take the advice and opinion of Imam al-Ridā (A) in matters such as marriage, due to his own inaccessibility while he was imprisoned by Hārūn.40

The fact that there were no suitable spouses present for the daughters of the Ahl al-Bayt (A), does not seem so far-fetched when we consider the tradition from Imam al-Sādiq (A) in reference to Lady Fatima Zahra (A):

لولا أنّ الله تبارك وتعالى خلق أمير المؤمنين لفاطمة
ما كان لها كفو على ظهر الارض من آدم ومن دونه.

“If God had not created the Commander of the Faithful [Ali] for Fatima, then there would not have been a suitable husband for her in the whole world from the time of Adam to the end of mankind.”41

The second reason is that the fear and anxiety caused by Hārūn’s government at that time was such that no-one dared to get close to the family of the Ahl al-Bayt (A).

To marry one of the daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A), and become his son in-law was considered too dangerous.

This was one of the many sad difficulties that Imam’s (A) family faced, due to the tyranny of the rulers of their time.42

We cannot determine with certainty why Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not marry, however, we can be sure it was not due to the abandonment of marriage as a personal choice.

1.9 - Lady Fatima Masuma (A) as a narrator of traditions

One of the qualities of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was her considerable knowledge of the various Islamic sciences and the teachings and merits of the family of the Prophet (S). She is counted amongst the highest rank of reliable narrators of traditions.

Unfortunately, due to the oppressive rulers at her time, there was great restriction in narrating anything from the Ahl al-Bayt (A) and so a lot of material has been lost.
Some of the traditions (ahādīth) which have been narrated by this noble lady, that have reached us, are given below, with their chain of transmission (sanad).

1. The tradition of Ghadīr and the tradition of Manzilat

حدثتنا فاطمة وزينب وامّ كلثوم بنات موسى بن جعفر، قلن حدثتنا فاطمة ...بنت جعفر بن محمد الصادق، حدثتني فاطمة بنت محمد بن علي، حدثتني فاطمة بنت علي بن الحسين، حدثتني فاطمة وسكينة ابنتا الحسين بن علي، عن أم كلثوم بنت فاطمة بنت النبي، عن فاطمة بنت رسول الله (ص) قالت :

أنسيتم قول رسول الله (ص) يوم غديرخم: مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلاهُ فَعَلِيٍّ مَوْلاهُ

وقوله (ص): اَنْتَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هارُونَ مِنْ مُوسى

The daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A), Fatima (Masuma), Zaynab and Umm Kulthūm have narrated to me:
Fatima daughter of Imam al-Sādiq (A), narrated to us:
Fatima daughter of Imam al-Bāqir (A) narrated to me:
Fatima daughter of Imam al-Sajjād (A) narrated to me:
Fatima and Sakinah, daughters of Imam Husain (A) narrated to me:
Umm Kulthūm daughter of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) narrated to us, from her mother, the daughter of the Prophet (S) that she said:
“Have you forgotten the words of the Prophet of God on the day of Ghadīr Khum, when he said: ‘Whosever’s leader I am, then Ali is also their leader’, and his words, to Ali (A) ‘Your relationship to me is like the relationship of Hārūn to Mūsā.’”43

2. With the same chain of narrators as above, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) narrates from Lady Fatima Zahra (A):
“I heard from my father, the Prophet (S), who said:
‘When I went to Mi`rāj (ascension to the Heavens), I entered Heaven, and there I saw a palace made of white pearls, the door of that palace was decorated with pearls and rubies, and on that door was hanging a curtain.
I raised my head towards it and saw written on the door:

لا اِلهَ اِلا اللهُ، مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ، عَلِيٌّ وَلِيُّ القَوْمِ

“There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Ali is the Guardian of the community.”

I then looked at the curtain and on that was written:

بَخٍّ بَخٍّ مَنْ مِثْلُ شِيعَةِ عَلِىٍّ؟

“Ah, ah! Who is like the Shi`a of Ali?”

I entered the palace, in it I saw a castle, made of red ‘Aqīq. It had a door of silver, decorated with green topaz and on that door was hanging a curtain.
I raised up my head and saw written on that door:

مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ، عَلِيٌّ وَصِيُّ الْمُصْطَفى

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Ali is the Successor of Mustafā.”44

3. Lady Fatima Masuma (A), through a reliable chain, has narrated from Safīyah, the daughter of `Abd al-Muttalib, [the paternal aunt of the Prophet (S)], who relates:

عن صفية بنت عبد المطّلب قالت: لمّا سقط الحسين (ع) من بطن امّه وكنت وليتها قال رسول الله (ص) يا عمة هلمّي اليّ ابني فقلت يا رسول الله اناّ لم ننظفّه بعد. فقال (ص) يا عمة انت تنظّفينه انّ الله تبارك وتعالى قد نظّفه وطهّره

“When Imam Husain (A) was born and I was attending to his mother, the Prophet (S) said to me: Oh aunt ! Bring my child to me. I said: I have not yet washed him [to make him Tāhir (clean)]”. He said: “Oh aunt ! Do you want to wash him, when God the Most High has washed him and made him pure?”45

4. It is narrated that:

عن فاطمة بنت موسى بن جعفر، عن فاطمة بنت الصادق جعفر بن محمد، عن فاطمة بنت الباقر محمد بن علي، عن فاطمة بنت السجاد علي بن الحسين زين العابدين، عن فاطمة بنت ابي عبدالله الحسين، عن زينب بنت أمير المؤمنين، عن فاطمة بنت رسول الله (ص)، قالت قال رسول الله (ص):

اَلا مَنْ ماتَ عَلى حُبِّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ماتَ شَهِيداً

Fatima (Masuma) daughter of Imam al-Kāđim,
narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam al-Sādiq,
who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam al-Bāqir,
who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam al-Sajjād,
who narrates from Fatima daughter of Imam Husain,
who narrates from Zaynab daughter of Imam Ali,
who narrates from Lady Fatima Zahra daughter of the Prophet of God,
who has narrated that the Prophet (S) has said:
“Know that whoever dies having the love of the family of Muhammad, dies a martyr (shahīd).”46

From the above traditions, narrated by Lady Fatima Masuma (A) with a reliable chain of narrators, we see that not only the men folk of the family of the Prophet (S) narrated traditions from the Prophet (S), but also the women of this family had a role in narrating his traditions.

1.10 - The influence of Imam al-Kāđim (A) and Imam al-Ridā (A) on Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

According to authentic traditions, during the year 179 A.H, Imam al-Kāđim (A) was arrested on the orders of Hārūn (the 5th Abbasid Caliph) and taken from Madina to Baghdad via Basra. In Baghdad, he was imprisoned and he remained in prison until his death in the year 183 A.H.

This separation of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) from her father was very difficult for her. She longed to see her father again but this was not to be, because the family of the Imam (A) learnt of his death within the prisons of Baghdad about 4 years later.

From the time of the imprisonment of her father, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was under the guardianship of her brother, Imam al-Ridā (A), who was 25 years older than her. This lasted until the year 200 A.H, when he was summoned to Khurāsān by Ma’mūn.
This guardianship was according to the will of their father, Imam al-Kāđim (A).

In the beginning of the will of Imam al-Kāđim (A), after mentioning the guardianship of Imam al-Ridā (A) for his wives and daughters, the following was written:

وَاِنْ اَرادَ رَجُلٌ مِنْهُمْ اَنْ يُزَوِّجَ اُخْتَهُ،
فَلَيْسَ لَهُ اَنْ يُزَوِّجَها اِلاَّ بِاِدْنِهِ وَاَمْرِهِ

“…and if anyone of the brothers wants his sister to get married, he must get his (Imam al-Ridā’s) permission...”47

Imam al-Ridā (A) was not only instructed to be the guardian of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) but also that of all the wives and daughters of Imam al-Kāđim (A).

Fatima Masuma (A) spent the first six years of her life by the side of her noble father, which she utilised to the maximum, learning all she could from him.

Even as a child her level of knowledge and spiritual awareness was very high, as seen from a report by the late Ayatollah Sayyid Nasrullāh Mustanbit,48 who reported that there were some manuscripts found in the Shūshtarī libraries in the Holy city of Najaf, that had the following tradition written on them:

“One Friday, a number of Shi`a went to Madina to meet Imam al-Kāđim (A) to get some questions answered. But when they reached the house of the Imam (A), they were informed that he was away on a journey.

They decided to write their questions on a piece of paper and entrust this to the family of the Imam (A), so that when he returned from his journey he could answer the questions.

After a few days in Madina, the Shi`a decided to return home. Before their homeward journey, they passed by Imam’s (A) house to say their farewells and here they were given their paper back with all their questions answered. The replies to their queries had been provided by Lady Fatima Masuma (A), who at the time was only six years old.

They left Madina satisfied with the answers. On their journey home, they happened to meet Imam al-Kāđim (A), who was returning to Madina. They related to the Imam (A) the events that had occurred.

The Imam (A) asked to see the paper with the questions answered by Lady Fatima Masuma (A). After studying her replies and finding all the questions answered so correctly and eloquently by his young daughter, the Imam (A) remarked:

فِدَاهَا اَبُوهَا

May her father be sacrificed for her.

Imam (A) repeated this phrase three times.49
This same phrase had also been used by the Prophet (S) for Lady Fatima Zahra (A). 50
The tradition above demonstrates the special giftedness of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), even as a child. It comes as no surprise, therefore, when we read in her Ziyārat – which was dictated by Imam Ali Ridā (A), the following:

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكِ يا فاطِمَةُ بِنْتَ موسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ وَحُجَّتِهِ وَاَمينِهِ

Salutations to you, Oh Fatima, daughter of Mūsā ibn Ja`far, the proof (hujjah) and trusted one (amīn).51

After benefiting for six years from the guardianship of her father, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was then under the supervision of her brother for another 21 years. She took advantage of the opportunity to learn under another Imam (A).

Indeed, she acquired such a high spiritual level that, after her passing away, her brother gave her the title of “Masuma" (the infallible). This was high praise indeed, especially from an Imam (A).


The Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in Qum

  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 228; Majālis al-Mu’minīn, vol. 1, p. 83.
  • 2. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 317 & vol. 60, p. 216 & vol. 102, p. 266.
  • 3. Shaykh `Alī Namāzī, Mustadrak Safīnat al-Bihār, vol. 8, p. 257.
  • 4. `Abbās Faid, Ganjīne-ye Athār-e Qum, vol. 1, p. 386.
  • 5. Hasan ibn Muhammad Qummī, Tārikh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 213; Bihār al- Anwār, vol. 48, p. 290; Sayyid Muhsin Jabal `Āmilī, A`yān al-Shī`a, vol. 8, p. 391; Shaykh `Abbās Qummī, Muntahā al-Āmāl, vol. 2, p. 242; Sayyid Hasan al-Amīn, Dā’irat al-Ma`ārif, vol. 3, p. 231.
  • 6. Mīr Abū Tālib Tabrīzī, Wasīlat al-Ma`sūmīn, p. 65; Sayyid Mahdī Mansūrī, Zindagāni-ye Hadrat-e Ma`sūma, p. 37, `Alī Akbar Mahdīpūr, Zindagāni-ye Karimah-ye Ahl al-Bayt, p. 105.
  • 7. Mustadrak Safīnat al-Bihār, vol. 8, p. 257.
  • 8. Shaykh Hurr ‘Āmilī, Risālat al-`Arabīyah al-‘Alawīyah, p. 11.
  • 9. Shaykh Mufīd, Al-Irshād, Chapter on the life of Imam al-Kāđim (A).
  • 10. Sibt ibn Jawzī, Tadhkirat al-Khawāss, p. 315.
  • 11. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 317.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Shaykh Muhammad Taqī Tustarī, Tawārīkh al-Nabī wa al-Āl, p. 65.
  • 14. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 476; Al- Irshād, vol. 2, p. 215; `Alī bin Husain Mas`ūdī, Ithbāt al-Wasīyah, p. 161–169.
  • 15. Tadhkirat al-Khawāss, p. 314.
  • 16. Shaykh adūq, `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 14; Shaykh Tabarsī, I`lām al-Warā, p. 302; Shaykh Hurr ‘Āmilī, Ithbāt al-Hudāt, vol. 3, p. 233.
  • 17. `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 17.
  • 18. `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 14; I`lām al-Warā, p. 302; Ithbāt al-Hudāt, vol. 3, p. 233.
  • 19. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 486; `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 1, p. 14; I`lām al-Warā, p. 302; Al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 247.
  • 20. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 49, p. 4; `Uyūn al-Akhbār al-Ridā, vol.1, p. 14; Ithbāt al-Hudāt, vol.3, p. 233; Muhammad Ridā Hakīmī, A`yān al-Nisā’, p. 76.
  • 21. Shaykh Muhammad bin Ya`qūb al-Kulaynī, Furū` al-Kāfī, vol. 6, p. 18; Shaykh adūq, Man Lā Yahduruh-u al-Faqīh, vol. 4 p. 269; Shaykh Tūsī, Tahdhīb al-Ahkām, vol. 7, p. 437.
  • 22. Shaykh Tūsī, Al-Amālī, vol. 2 p. 69; Shaykh adūq, Ma`ānī al-Akhbār, p. 146; Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 6, p. 19; `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 29; ahīfat al-Ridā, attributed to Imam al-Ridā (A) p. 88.
  • 23. Furū` al-Kāfī, vol. 6, p. 19; Tahdhīb al-Ahkām, vol. 7, p. 438.
  • 24. Furū` al-Kāfī, vol. 6, p. 48; Tahdhīb al-Ahkām, vol. 8, p. 112.
  • 25. Nāsikh al-Tawārikh, vol. 3, p. 68; Rayāhīn al-Sharī`ah, vol. 5, p. 35.
  • 26. Holy Qur’an (33:33).
  • 27. Zindagāni-ye Karimah-ye Ahl al-Bayt, p. 44.
  • 28. Nāsikh al-Tawārīkh, vol. 3, p. 68; Rayāhīn al-Sharī`a, vol. 5, p. 35.
  • 29. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 317; vol. 60, p. 216 & vol. 102, p. 266.
  • 30. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 228; Majālis al-Mu’minīn, vol. 1, p. 83.
  • 31. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 102, p. 267.
  • 32. The matter has also been referred to by some scholars. The following is narrated by Ayatollah Muhammad Bāqir Nāsirī (d. 1407 A.H):
    “In the year 1295 A.H around the locality of Qum, there was a famine and drought, the sheep and cattle were dying. The people chose forty pious individuals, who were sent to the Haram of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) to pray for deliverance. The forty individuals prayed in the Haram for three days and nights and on the third night, one of the individuals saw the late Ayatollah Mirzā Qummī in a dream. The late Mirzā asked this individual, ‘what it was that they wanted’. He replied that they were praying for rain to get relief from the difficulty that they were experiencing. The late Mirzā answered: ‘Only for this you all have gathered here? This is nothing, I myself can resolve this. If you have needs such as these then come to us, but if you desire the intercession for all on the Day of Judgement, then appeal to Lady Fatima Masuma (A)’.” (Muhammad Ishtihārdī, Hadrat-e Ma`sūma – Fātima-ye Duvvum, pp. 178 & 179).
  • 33. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 43, pp. 86 & 88.
  • 34. Zindagāni-ye Karimah-ye Ahl al-Bayt, pp. 63 & 64. The episode in which Imam (A) said this phrase has been discussed in section 1.10.
  • 35. As discussed earlier, in section 1.6, this was related in a dream to the late Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmūd Mar`ashī Najafī by Imam al-Bāqir (A) or Imam al-ādiq (A), after his insistence on finding the exact location of the burial place of Lady Fatima Zahra (A).
  • 36. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 290. This matter is explained in detail in section 2.4.
  • 37. Shaykh Hurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il al-Shī`ah, vol. 14, p. 3.
  • 38. Wasā’il al-Shī`ah, vol. 14, pp. 7 & 8.
  • 39. Wasā’il al-Shī`ah, vol. 14, pp. 117 & 118.
  • 40. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol.1, p. 317. This matter is discussed in section 1.10.
  • 41. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 261.
  • 42. Another reason that is sometimes given in answer to why Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not marry, is from a weak tradition, in which it is narrated that, Ma’mūn, (the 7th Abbasid caliph), wanted to marry Lady Fatima Masuma (A) for his own political ends, and to avoid this catastrophe, she abandoned marriage altogether. Perhaps it is for this same reason that God did not allow Lady Fatima Masuma (A) to reach Khurāsān, where her brother was, because Ma’mūn might have forced her to marry him.
    (See Ghanjīne-ye Āthār-e Qum, vol. 1, p. 384).
  • 43. `Allāmah Shaykh `Abd al-Husain Amīnī, Al-Ghadīr, vol. 1, p. 197. These traditions have also been reported by many Sunni scholars.
  • 44. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 68, pp. 76 & 77.
  • 45. Al-Āmālī, p. 82.
  • 46. Muhammad bin Ahmad Chishtī Dāghistānī, Al-Lu’lu’at al-Thamīnat fī al-Athār al-Mu`an`anat al-Marwīyah, p. 217; Ghanjīne-ye Dāneshmandān, vol. 1, pp. 16 & 17.
  • 47. Usūl al-Kāfī, vol.1, p. 317.
  • 48. The son-in-law of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abū al-Qāsim al-Khū’ī.
  • 49. Kashf al-La’ālī, vol. 7, p. 14.
  • 50. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 43, pp. 86 & 88.
  • 51. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 43, p. 88.
Image: 

Journey to Qum

2.1 - The separation of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) from Imam al-Ridā (A)

Although the separation from her father had been very difficult, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) still had her brother to comfort her. However, in 200 A.H, Ma’mūn (the 7th Abbasid Caliph), demanded Imam al-Ridha’s (A) presence in Khurāsān. The departure of her brother further increased her sorrow. This separation lasted for only about one year, but sadly she passed away before they could be reunited.

When Amīn (the 6th Abbasid Caliph) was killed by the soldiers of his brother Ma’mūn, and Ma’mūn became the Caliph, his rule was initially very unstable. The kingdom was divided and Ma’mūn felt the need to gather support. So as to gain the support of the Shi`a, he insisted that Imam al-Ridā (A) come to Khurāsān.

Here, he received the Imam (A) with great honour, pretending to respect his position, and even claiming to be his follower. The true test of his sincerity would have been to abdicate in favour of the Imam (A). Instead, he declared the Imam (A) his successor, never intending that that day should come.

The Imam (A) was forced to accept this invitation and he went to Khurāsān, where his presence in the court of Ma’mūn served the interests of the Shi`a and Islam. The Imam (A) reached Khurāsān in 200 A.H, and he was poisoned to death by Ma’mūn in 203 A.H.
Ma’mūn had prepared a document of the ‘wilāyat’ (successorship) of Imam al-Ridā (A) in five copies. One of these copies was sent to Makka, one to Madina, one to Shām, one to Baghdad and one was kept in Khurāsān.1

According to the orders of Ma’mūn, the name of Imam al-Ridā (A) was mentioned in the khutbah (sermons) of the Friday prayers, in all the Islamic lands and coins with the name of the Imam (A) were minted.

As a result of the intense desire of the Shi`a to be near the Imam, many of them decided to migrate to Khurāsān. Some were also misled by the apparent respect being accorded to the Imam (A) by Ma’mūn, and were unaware of his deceit and political ploys.

2.2 - The journey of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) from Madina

After a difficult year of separation from her beloved brother, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) decided to go to him. She began this journey from Madina to Khurāsān, in the year 201 A.H, accompanied by a caravan made up of some members of her household and friends of the Imam (A).

Some historians are of the opinion that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) undertook this long and hazardous journey just to be close to her brother, but this is unlikely to be the only reason.

A more plausible reason for this journey is that she had a role to play at the side of the Imam (A). Her immense learning and piety would help him in the propagation of Islam, especially amongst the ladies.

In this aspect her role would be similar to that of Lady Fatima Zahra (A) at the side of the Prophet (S) or that of Lady Zaynab (A) at the side of Imam Ali (A), Imam Hasan (A) and then at the side of Imam Husain (A) in Karbalā and in the aftermath of Karbalā at the side of Imam Ali Zayn al-`Ābidīn (A).

There are many different narrations of the events leading to this journey of the family of the Imam (A) from Madina to Sāweh and the events that unfolded during this journey.

According to one narration, the Imam (A) wrote a letter to his sister, Lady Fatima Masuma (A), which he sent to her with one of his servants, instructing him to hasten to Madina without stopping anywhere on the way.

After receiving the letter from her brother, Lady Fatima Masuma (A), immediately prepared herself for the journey to Khurāsān via Sāweh.2

According to another tradition, the Imam (A) wrote a letter to all his family members, inviting them to come to Khurāsān.

It is narrated that after the arrival of this letter, a group consisting of the sons and other family member of the Imam (A), and other Shi`a, numbering over 12000 people made their way to Khurāsān.3
Another tradition says that when the letter of the Imam (A) to his family members arrived, their sadness at their separation from the Imam (A) made them decide to join him. A caravan was prepared, under the leadership of Ibrāhīm, son of Imam al-Kāzim (A), and they began their journey to Khurāsān.4

It is narrated that two separate caravans headed towards Khurāsān. One of these groups was the one that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was in. It was comprised of 23 people, under the leadership of Hārūn ibn Mūsā ibn Ja`far.5

The other group travelling to Khurāsān consisted of about 12,000 people under the leadership of Ahmad ibn Mūsā al-Kāđim.6

These caravans reached a town called Sāweh on their way to Khurāsān. Here they were attacked by enemies of the family of the Prophet (S).

Many were martyred, including Hārūn, and many others were wounded or taken prisoner. A few managed to flee. A woman from the enemies put poison in the food of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and she became ill.

She then asked to be taken to Qum and her request was granted. After a few days stay in Qum, she died of her illness and was buried there.7

Another narration states that Hārūn and the other members of Lady Fatima Masuma’s (A) family, totalling 23, were killed in an ambush by the people of the town of Sāweh, who at that time had great enmity towards the family of the Prophet (S). In the book Qīyām-e Sādāt-e `Alawī, it is mentioned that the ambush was actually carried out by the soldiers of Ma’mūn.
It is narrated that the soldiers insisted that the caravan progress no further. In the discussion that ensued, the soldiers falsely alleged, “Your Imam is dead.”
This lie caused consternation in the camp and some people decided to return to Madina, while others wanted to press on. This might account for the mistaken notion that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) died as a result of being heartbroken at the news of the death of her beloved brother.
In any case, a confusion ensued and the soldiers took the opportunity to attack the camp. During the assault, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) had to witness the brutal death of 23 close family members.
She is therefore sometimes compared to Lady Zaynab (A), who also witnessed the slaughtering of her close family members. And due to this intensely sorrowful event, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) became ill and was taken to Qum. And here after 16-17 days she passed away in Qum, and was buried there.8

It is also narrated that the second group consisting of about 12000 Shi`a were also attacked on the orders of Ma’mūn, through the ruler of Fārs, in a place called Shīrāz. All the members of this group were either killed or ran away.9
The narrations above may explain why there are so many graves of the sons of the Imams (A) and other family members found within Iran. For instance in Sāweh itself, the graves of Sayyid Ishāq, Sayyid Abū Ridā, Sayyid `Ali Asghar (all from the family of Imam (A)) are popular sites for pilgrims, as are the graves in villages around Sāweh, also attributed to children of the Imams (A).10

2.3 - Lady Fatima Masuma’s (A) journey from Sāweh to Qum

When Lady Fatima Masuma (A) became ill at Sāweh, she enquired from her companions, how far Qum was. She was told 10 farsakh (approx 60 km).11
She asked to be taken to Qum, which at the time was a centre of the Shi`a.12 Sāweh, on the other hand, was hostile towards the family of the Prophet (S).13

`Allāmah Majlisī narrates:
“The more accurate narration is that, when it became known to the family of Sa`d Ash`arī, the leading Shi’a family in Qum at the time, that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was in Sāweh and that she was ill, all of them went to Sāweh to invite her to come to Qum.
Prominent amongst this family was Mūsā ibn Khazraj ibn Sa`d Ash`arī who was a companion of Imam al-Ridā (A). When he reached Lady Fatima Masuma (A), he took the reins of her camel and brought her to Qum, to his own house. Here she spent the last few days (16 or 17 days) of her life.”14

It is believed that Lady Fatima Masuma (A) died on the 10th or the 12th of Rabī` al-Thānī and that she spent the last 16 or 17 days of her life in Qum, therefore we can estimate that she arrived in Qum around the 24th Rabī` al-Awwal, 201 A.H.

The house of Mūsā ibn Khazraj ibn Sa`d Ash`arī, where Lady Fatima Masuma (A) lived for the few days that she was in Qum, has now become a school named “Madres-ye Sittīyeh”. [Sittiy means Lady – hence the name of the school is “School of the Lady”]. Till today, opposite the gates of this school and within its grounds, there remains the alter of worship (mihrāb `ibādat) of this noble lady, where she spent hours of the last days of her life worshiping Allah. It has been named “Bayt al-Nūr’ – “the House of Radiance”. The site is popular with pilgrims, who go there to pay their respects.

2.4 - The events at the burial of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

The place where Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is buried was known at the time of her burial as “Bābelān”. It was a deserted area with no buildings. It belonged to Mūsā ibn Khazraj, who donated it for the purpose of the burial of this noble lady.

After the place of burial of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was selected, the family members of Sa`d prepared her final resting place by digging a crypt in which to place the holy body.
Once the Ritual Bath (ghusl) and the Shrouding (kafan) of the holy body had been completed, the family of Sa`d began discussing who would have the privilege of entering the crypt to lay the holy body into the ground.
After much discussion, they finally agreed on a man by the name of Qadir, who was a pious and God-fearing old man from the family of the Prophet (S).

At that moment, they saw two masked riders appear, from the direction of the desert. These two masked riders approached swiftly and dismounted at the burial site. They came forward and recited the prayer for the dead (salāt al-mayyit) for Lady Fatima Masuma (A). Then, one of them entered the crypt while the other passed the holy body of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) to him. In this way her burial took place.

After the ceremonies of burial were completed, these two masked riders, without uttering a word to anyone, mounted their horses and rode off into the distance.15
No one knows for certain who these masked men were, but those who were familiar with the character and behaviour of the Imams (A), were in no doubt that these two personalities were Imam al-Ridā (A) and his son Imam al-Taqī (A).
They had come from Khurāsān and Madina respectively, by the miracle of being able to cross vast distances in an instant (tayy al-ard), to participate in the burial ceremonies of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

The presence of an Imam (A) at the burial ceremony of a true Shi`a is not in itself unusual as there are many examples of this in history. In one instance, Imam al-Kāđim (A) came from Madina to Neyshābūr to participate in the burial ceremonies of an old woman by the name of ‘Shatīteh’, who was a sincere and devout Shi`a. At that time, Imam (A) said to Abu Ja`far Neyshābūrī, who was present and wondered at Imam’s (A) presence so far from Madina:

اِنَّني وَمَنْ جَرَى مَجْرايَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ، لا بُدَّ لَنا مِنْ حُضورِ جَنائِزِكُمْ في أيِّ بَلَدٍ كُنْتُمْ، فَاتَّقوا اللهَ في اَنْفُسِكُمْ وَأَحْسِنوا الأَعْمالَ، لِتُعينونا عَلى خَلاصِكُمْ وَفَكِّ رِقابِكُمْ مِنَ النّارِ

“I, and whoever is the Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt after me in my place, has to be present in the escorting of your dead bodies, in which ever land you die in. So be God-fearing and pious and persist in doing good, so that we come and help free you from the fire of Hell.”16

From the tradition above, it would not be unjustified to assume that the two masked riders who appeared from nowhere, to take part in the burial ceremonies of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) were, in fact, Imam al-Ridā (A) and Imam al-Taqī (A).

The Tomb of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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2.5 - Others who have been buried near Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

Some years after the burial of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), Umm Muhammad, daughter of Mūsā Mubarqa`, son of Imam al-Taqī (A), was buried near her grave. Some time later, Maymūnah, sister of Umm Muhammad died and was also buried near the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).
The dome on the graves of these two ladies was separate from that of Lady Fatima Masuma (A). Then Burayhīyah, daughter of Mūsā, son of Imam al-Taqī (A), was also buried in that place.17
The respected narrator, Shaykh `Abbās Qummī, has mentioned that several other ladies have also been buried in the same place, such as: Zaynab, daughter of Imam al-Taqī (A); Umm Ishāq, slave of Muhammad ibn Mūsā Mubarqa` and Umm Habīb, slave of Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Mūsā Mubarqa`.18

The fact that other noble ladies from the family of the Imams (A) have also been buried near Lady Fatima Masuma (A) explains why we find the following passage in Lady Fatima Masuma’s (A) salutation (zīyārat), where we recite:

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُنَّ يا بَناتِ رَسولِ اللهِ، السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُنَّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ

“Salutation on you, O daughters of the Prophet of Allah, Salutations and Mercy and the Blessings of Allah be on all of you.”

Another proof that others from the holy family are buried here is the incident narrated by the late Ayatollah Hājj Āqā Husain Mujtahid, who narrates:
“At the time of Nāsir al-Dīn Shāh (d.1313 A.H), when the floor of the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was being covered with marble, an opening was noticed in a part at the foot of the burial chamber (darīh) of this noble lady.

It was decided that this opening would have to be repaired from within the crypt.
Two pious women were chosen to go into the crypt, to repair this opening. When they entered the crypt, they saw that the opening was not into the grave of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) herself, but led to an adjoining crypt where the bodies of three ladies were buried. They reported that the bodies looked completely unmarked, as if they had been buried that very day.”

After investigation it was concluded that these bodies were of Maymūnah, daughter of Mūsā Mubarqa`, son of Imam al-Taqī (A) and her two slaves, Umm Ishāq and Umm Habīb, who had been buried there eleven centuries ago!19

The above does not seem surprising if one looks at the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (S):

اِنَّ اللهَ حَرَّمَ لُحُومَنا عَلَى الأَرْضِ فَلا يَطْعُمُ مِنْها شَيْئاً

“Indeed Allah has made our flesh forbidden to the earth, and the ground never consumes from our bodies.”20

The Dome of the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)
  • 1. Muhammad bin Hasan Āmilī, Tārīkh-e Rāwīyān, narrating from Nasī al-Dīn al-Tūsī, p. 213.
  • 2. Sayyid Dākhil bin Husain, Man Lā Yahduruh-u al-Khatīb, vol. 4, p. 261.
  • 3. Sayyid Muhammad `Alī Rawdātī, Jām`i al-Ansāb, p. 17.
  • 4. Bihār al-Ansāb, pp. 91 - 94.
  • 5. `Alī Akbar Tashayyad, Qīyām-e Sādāt-e `Alawī, p. 160.
  • 6. Ibid., p. 169.
  • 7. Ibid., pp. 160 & 168; Ja`far Murtadā `Āmilī, Al-Hayāt al-Sīyāsīyah Li al-Imām al-Ridā, p. 428.
  • 8. Shaykh Mahdi Mansūrī, Hayāt al-Sitt, p. 160.
  • 9. Qīyām-e Sādāt-e `Alawī, p. 169.
  • 10. Qīyām-e Sādāt-e `Alawī, p. 166.
  • 11. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 219.
  • 12. Zindegi-ye Hadrat-e Mūsā ibn Ja`far, vol. 2, p. 384.
  • 13. Ghanjīneh-ye Athār-e Qum, vol. 1, p. 382.
  • 14. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 219.
  • 15. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 290 and Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 213.
  • 16. Ibn Hamza , Al-Thāqib fī al-Manāqīb, p. 445.
  • 17. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, pp. 220 & 229.
  • 18. Muntahā al-Āmāl, vol. 2, p. 162.
  • 19. Mīrzā Mūsā Farāhānī, Iqāmat al-Burhān dar Usūl-e Dīn, p. 479.
  • 20. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 22, p. 550; Man Lā Yahduruh-u al-Faqīh, vol. 1, p. 121.
Image: 

The Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

3.1 - A brief history

After the burial of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), Mūsā ibn Khazraj placed a ceiling made of wicker over the grave, which remained unchanged until Zaynab, daughter of Imam al-Taqī (A), came to Qum and had a dome built on the grave.1 The dome was built of bricks and mortar. This event occurred in the middle of the third Islamic century.

After the passing of some time, two other domes were built near the first dome and it was under the third dome that Zaynab, daughter of Imam al-Taqī (A) was herself buried.
These three domes remained till the year 457 A.H, when the vizier of Tughrul the Great, Mīr Abū al-Fadl al-`Īrāqī, at the urging of the great scholar, Shaykh Tūsī (d.460 A.H) built one high dome in place of the three domes.

3.2 - During the reign of the Safavids

From the time of the replacement of the three domes by one, until the time of the reign of the Safavids,2 the condition of the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) remained somewhat the same. At this time there was no chamber above the grave, nor any porches or courtyards.

In the year 925 A.H Shāh Ismā`īl I built a gold porch on the North side and laid the foundation of what is now called the old courtyard. After him, Shah Tahmāsb I, built a burial chamber, with glazed tiles, around the holy grave. He also built a porch on the South side of the grave (in the old courtyard).
In the year 1077 A.H Shāh Safīy built a courtyard for women, in the south of the threshold of the grave, which is now the area surrounding the enclosed area of the Mosque of Tabātabā’ī. This courtyard is the burial place for Shāh `Abbās and Shāh Sulaymān and Shāh Sultān Husain.
In the time of the reign of Shāh `Abbās, the burial chamber was covered with white steel and the present chamber contains some of the same steel with sheets of silver added to it.

3.3 - During the reign of the Qājārs

After the reign of the Safavīds, further repairs to the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) did not take place until the time of the reign of the Qājārs in Iran.3

In the year 1218 A.H Fath Ali Shāh Qājār made a dome of gold using 12000 gold-covered bricks. In the year 1236 A.H, the mosque known as Masjid-e Bālā Sar [the mosque at the head of the holy body of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)], was built.

In the year 1276 A.H, the porch of Shāh Ismā`īl Safavī was decorated with gold and in the year 1275 A.H the steel burial chamber of Shāh `Abbās was remade using silver.
Towards the end of the 13th century A.H, the foundation for a new, bigger courtyard was laid, and the building was completed during the reign of Nāsir al-Dīn Shāh, in the year 1303 A.H.4

3.4 - After the victory of the Islamic Revolution

During the course of its history, a lot of elegant and beautiful decorative work, using different materials and scripts has been added to the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), which we are unable to go into in this book.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the leader, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, authorised a number of important changes to the layout and organisation of the holy shrine. More facilities for pilgrims were introduced. The Masjid-e A`đam, built by the Grand Ayatollah Burujadi, was annexed to the holy shrine. The shrine was enlarged and currently this expansion project is continuing. Other changes were also been made, but again the details lie outside the scope of this book.

3.5 - The construction of the burial chamber to the present time

In the year 605 A.H, Amīr Ahmad ibn Ismā`īl commissioned the leading glass tile-maker and engraver of the time, Muhammad ibn Abī Tāhir Kāshīkār Qummī, to decorate the tomb of Lady Fatima Masuma (A). The work was completed in 8 years.

In the year 950 A.H, Shāh Tahmāsb Safavī, erected a burial chamber made of bricks and decorated with tiles of seven colours, around the tomb. The chamber had a screen through which pilgrims could see the tomb and put in donations and petitions into the chamber.

After some years, by the order of Shāh `Abbās, a steel grill was placed in front of the bricked burial chamber.
In the year 1230 A.H, Fath Ali Shāh Qājār, covered this steel grill with silver. This remained in place until it showed signs of deterioration and in the year 1280 A.H, a new chamber, using silver from the old one, as well as additional silver from the treasury, was erected, entirely replacing the old one.

The Old Burial Chamber (Darīh) of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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This new chamber remained for a long time over the tomb of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), being repaired as needed, until the year 1368 A.H. Then, by the order of the Custodian of the time, a newer burial chamber, with a different shape was erected in place of the former one.
After over 40 years, due to the increase in the numbers of visitors to the holy shrine, and natural deterioration, the grills of the burial chamber became corroded.

Additionally, the wooden interior of the chamber, which had been in place for over a hundred years, had become badly damaged. More importantly, the constant washing of the chamber with rose water had given it a red tinge, and cracks were found in its foundations. The considerable damage to the chamber necessitated a replacement.

The custodian of the shrine, Ayatollah Mas`ūdī, made the decision in the year 1415 A.H to replace the burial chamber. For this purpose, the leading expert in the field, Āghā Husain Parwaresh Isfāhānī was commissioned to design a new chamber. He died before he could finish the work and it was completed by Āghā Muhammad Husain `Abbāspūr Isfāhānī.

The New Burial Chamber (Darīh) of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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In this last and latest version of the burial chamber several changes have been made:
• the poems and verses that were inscribed on the upper part of the old chamber were collected and inscribed in gold lettering to go at the top of the new chamber.

• the section between the top of the chamber and the area accessible to the pilgrims, which was formerly made of silver, was replaced with gold.

• The upper chambers and grills which contained over 5000 spheres and tubes were all replaced and made thicker and sturdier. For this section alone, over 200 kilograms of pure silver was used.

• The old wooden foundations, which are not visible, were also replaced with better and more hardwearing wood.

The chamber itself is 4 meters high, 5.25 meters long and 4.73 meters wide. Although outwardly the latest chamber does not seem much different from the former one, it has been made much stronger, sturdier and durable. The total cost of these renovations to the chamber was approximately 3 billion Rials (nearly £250,000).

The project took 5 years to complete. However, by the swift work of the builders who worked three shifts round the clock, the installation of the new chamber was completed in just one month, thereby not unduly inconveniencing the pilgrims.
The new burial chamber was re-opened to the public on the day of Ghadīr 1422 A.H, by Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Taqī Bahjat.

3.6 - The holy shrine at the present time

The total area of the grounds of the shrine is over 13,000 square meters, which includes the burial chamber (darīh), the porches, the halls, the three courtyards and the two earlier mosques (Tabātabā’ī and Bālā Sar).

More recently, a new mosque (Masjid-e A`đam), which was built by the great Marja’, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Husain Burūjirdī, was annexed to the Haram. Its dimensions alone exceed 25,000 square meters. His tomb is situated at the entrance of the mosque that he built.
In this mosque, in the mornings, the leading scholars of today give classes to advanced students. The mosque is also used for all the congregational prayers.
Between Masjid-e A`đam and the darih of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) is situated the mosque known as Masjid-e Bālā Sar. Within this mosque are buried several great scholars of the past, including:
• Grand Ayatollah Shaykh `Abd al-Karīm Hā’irī.

• Grand Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammad Ali Arākī,

• Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Ridā Gulpaygānī

• Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sadr al-Dīn Sadr

• Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Taqī Khānsārī.

• Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Shirāzī

• Allāmah Sayyid Muhammad Husain Tabātabā`ī

• Shahīd Shaykh Murtadā Mutahharī

The Graves of Some Grand Ayatollahs in Masjid Bālā Sar, in the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) in the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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3.7 - The golden dome

In 1218 A.H, Fath Ali Shāh Qājār commissioned the original golden dome of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), using 12000 gold-covered bricks. The dome remained unchanged for over 200 years.
In the year 1421 A.H, plans were made to change it. The event took place as follows:
Ayatollah Mas’udi, the custodian of the holy shrine, narrates:
“One day I went near the dome to study its condition closely. I found that some of the gold had come off and the bricks under it were worn away.
Specialists were called for their opinion on the matter and, after some discussion, they advised that the dome in its present state was not repairable. It needed to be completely covered with copper first, before gold could be placed over it.
It was calculated that the gold that would be recovered from the present dome would be about 20 kilograms, but the restoration would require 10 tonnes of copper and 200 kilograms of 24 carat gold, the cost of which would be about 30 billion Rials (approximately 3 million pounds)
In a special meeting the matter of the cost was brought forth for discussion and I said: “I cannot undertake the responsibility for procuring this cost and furthermore my age does not allow me to take on this great task.”

The discussion took place in a private meeting with only those present in the meeting having knowledge of it.
Some days later, I went to Ayatollah al-`Uđmā, Muhammad Taqī Bahjat to discuss the matter of the reconstruction of the dome. I had not previously informed him of the reason for my visit.
To my great surprise, after greeting me and asking me about my health, he himself said: ‘Why is the dome of Lady Masuma (A) not being fixed, the dome is very worn, start the work, God will send the money needed for this work and He will also grant you a long life.’

I was indeed surprised because the matter of the reconstruction, the problem of the cost involved and my own reservations, were not public knowledge. It was a matter which no one other than those present in the initial meeting knew of.
I answered: ‘The cost of this work is very high and at the present time we do not have the necessary funds.”

After a few days, Ayatollah Behjat contacted me and said, “Start the work, God will send the money for it. Meanwhile, inform the Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khāmene’ī.”
I went to the office of the Leader and explained the matter to him. He said, “I agree with whatever Ayatollah Behjat recommends.”

After the approval of the Leader, I decided to proceed with the reconstruction of the dome. Ayatollah Bahjat gave me 100 million Rials. and an amount of gold to start the work.” 5

The Old Golden Dome of the Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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This work commenced at the beginning of the Iranian New Year two years ago and is presently continuing apace. It is aimed to complete the task in the year 1426 A.H, (2005 C.E), Inshā Allah. Continuous progress reports are published in the monthly newspaper of the Haram, Payām-e Āstān.
The importance of maintaining and looking after the holy shrines is underlined by the following tradition, where the Holy Prophet (S) said to Imam Ali (A):

يا عَليُّ مَنْ عَمَّرَ قُبورَكُمْ وَتَعاهَدَها، فَكَانِّما اَعَانَ سُلَيْمانَ ابْنَ داوُدَ عَلى بِناءِ بَيْتِ الْمُقَدَّس

“O Ali, whoever maintains, repairs and reconstructs your tombs, and is constantly engaged in this task, it is as if he has helped Sulaymān ibn Dāwūd (A) build the Bayt al-Muqaddas.”6

3.8 - Inscriptions within the shrine

On the walls of the buildings within the shrine are inscriptions of poems, traditions and verses from the Qur’an in different scripts and using different materials. These decorate the walls, porticos and minarets. A small sample of some of these inscriptions is given below so as to familiarise the reader with the shrine and its markings.

3.9 - Inscriptions within the dome

On the inside of the dome, and within the burial chamber that was fixed in place in the year 1240 A.H, there are inscribed poems in Nasta`līq script, by Fath ‘Ali Khān Sabā. Both poems are in praise of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and the Ahl al-Bayt (A).

In the inside of the dome, a gold balcony has been constructed using glazed multicoloured tiles.
On a background of cobalt blue, in the Thulth script, the following tradition has been inscribed in Arabic: (this tradition has been reported by both Shi`a and Sunni scholars)

روى الزّمخشري في تفسيره الموسوم بالكشّاف والثّعلبي في تفسيره الموسوم بكشف البيان، عن رسول الله (ص) قال: ألا ومن مات على حبّ آل محمّد مات شهيداً، ألا ومن مات على حبّ آل محمّد مات مغفوراً، ألا ومن مات على حبّ آل محمّد مات مؤمناً متكمّلاً، ألا ومن مات على حبّ محمّد وآل محمّد بشّره ملك الموت ونكير ومنكر بالجنّة، ألا من مات على حبّ محمّد وآل محمّد زفّ الى الجنّة، ألا من مات على حبّ محمّد وآل محمّد فتح الله له فى قبره بابين الى الجنّة، ألا ومن مات على حبّ محمّد وآل محمّد جعل الله قبره مزار ملائكة الرّحمة، ألا ومن مات على بغض محمّد وآل محمّد جاء يوم القيامة مكتوب بين عينيه آيس من رحمة الله، ألا ومن مات على بغض آل محمّد مات كافراً، ألا ومن مات على بغض آل محمّد لم يشمّ رائحة الجنّة.

The translation of the text is as follows:
Zamakhsharī in his al-Kashshāf and Tha`labī in his Kashf al-Bayān [two great Sunni scholars] have both narrated from the Messenger of Allah, who said:
“Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies a martyr.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies forgiven.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies with faith and perfection.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, the angel of death and the two angels, Nakīr and Munkar will give him good tidings of Heaven.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, will be raised to Heaven.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, Allah will open two doors leading into Heaven in his grave.
Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, Allah will make his grave a place of pilgrimage for the angels of Mercy.
Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, on the Day of Judgement, in between his two eyes will be written, “He has no hope of receiving the mercy of Allah.”
Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for the family of Muhammad, dies an unbeliever (Kāfir).
Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for the family of Muhammad will not even smell the fragrance of Heaven.”

Then under it, has been written:

اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى الْمُصْطَفى مُحَمَّدٍ، والمرتضى عليِّ، والبتول فاطمة، والسّبطين الحسن والحسين، وزين العابدين علي، والباقر محمّد، والصّادق جعفر، والكاظم موسى، والرّضا علي، والتّقي محمّد، والنّقي علي، والزكيّ الحسن، والحجّة القائم المهدي صاحب الزّمان، ائمَة الهُدى ومصابيح الدّجى، بهم أتولّى، ومن أعدائهم اتبرّءُ

Which translates as:
“O Allah! Send Your blessings on al-Mustafā Muhammad, on al-Murtadā Ali, on al-Batūl Fatima, on the two grandsons [of the Prophet], Hasan and Husain, on Zayn al-`Ābidīn Ali, on al-Bāqir Muhammad, on al-Sādiq Ja`far, on al-Kāzim Mūsā, on al-Ridā Ali, on al-Taqī Muhammad, on al-Naqī Ali, on al-Zakī Hasan and on al-Hujjat al-Qā’im Mahdi, Master of the Time. These are the Imams of guidance and the lights in the darkness; I accept their guardianship and maintain enmity with their enemies.”

3.10 - Inscriptions on the tomb

The tomb is built up with bricks, which are decorated with different coloured glass tiles, and on them are inscribed:
• The Verse al-Kursī (2:255), written in Naskh script

• Various verses, written in Naskh script, in gold lettering

• Various verses, written in Kūfī script

• The Chapter al-Mulk, written in Naskh script, in gold lettering

• Other verses from the Qur’an.

Under the inscriptions, it is written in Naskh script: “Written and inscribed by Muhammad ibn Abī Tāhir ibn Abī al-Husain.”

The Tomb of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

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On the glass tiles around the grave from above to below are engraved:
• The Chapter Yāsīn,

• The Chapter al-Rahmān,

• The Chapter al-Mulk,

• The Chapter Hal Atā

• The Chapter al-Qadr

and also several traditions from the Prophet (S), which are reproduced below:7

Tradition 1

قالَ النَّبِي (ص): مَنْ كَفَّ لِسانَهُ عَنْ اَعْراضِ النّاسِ، اَقالَهُ اللهُ عَثْرَتَهُ يَوْمَ الْقيامَةِ

“Whoever guards his tongue from dishonouring the people, on the Day of Judgement, God will forgive his lapses.”

Tradition 2

مَنْ فَرَّقَ بَيْنَ وَالِدَةٍ وَوَلَدِها، فَرَّقَ اللهُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجَنَّةِ

“Whoever causes a separation between a mother and her child, God will cause a separation between him and Heaven.”

Tradition 3

حُسْنُ السّؤالِ نِصْفُ الْعِلْمِ

“A good question is half of learning.”

Tradition 4

اللهُ تَعالى عَوْنُ الْعَبْدِ ما دامَ الْعَبْدُ في عَوْنِ اَخيهُ

“God, Most High, helps His servant so long as the servant helps his brother.”

3.11 - Miracles that have occurred at the holy shrine

Numerous miracles have taken place at the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) over the centuries. Pilgrims come here for the blessing of the noble lady and are not disappointed. Miraculous events are scrupulously recorded in a special office within the shrine and details of some of them are regularly published in issues of the shrine’s monthly newspaper, the Payām-e Āstān.

There are so many miracles which have occurred at this holy site, that it would not be possible to mention them all. Perhaps the only non-Ma`sum whose shrine is the site for similar occurrences is Hadzrat `Abbās (A) in Karbalā and Lady Zaynab (A) in Damascus. Here, a few brief examples are mentioned:

1. Cure of a Serious Illness

A man by the name of Mīrzā Asadullāh, who was a guard at the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A), developed gangrene in one foot. It had become so bad that the doctors advised amputation of the foot to halt the progress of the disease.

The night before the scheduled amputation, Mīrzā Asadullāh decided to go to the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and pray for a miracle. He prayed earnestly in the shrine late into the night, until the shrine was shut. He remained inside weeping and beseeching the noble lady for assistance.
Next day early morning, while it was still dark, the guards who had come to reopen the doors of the Shrine heard him shouting, “Open the door, the Lady has been kind to me, through her intercession I have been cured.”

They opened the doors and found Mīrzā Asadullāh standing there, completely cured. He gave the following account of the events leading up to his cure, which have been recorded in his words:
“A noble lady approached me and asked: ‘What is it that you want?’ I replied, ‘Cure me of this illness in my foot; ask Allah for my cure or my death!’

Then that noble Lady rubbed the corner of her scarf on my foot a few times and said: ‘Allah has cured you’. Immediately, I felt better and the constant pain in my foot disappeared. I asked her who she was, and she replied: ‘How do you not recognize me, while you are one of the guards of my shrine? I am Fatima, daughter of Mūsā ibn Ja`far.’”8

2. Seeking guidance from Lady Fatima Masuma (A) by Mullā Sadrā

Sadr al-Dīn Muhamad ibn Ibrāhīm Shīrāzī, well known as Mullā Sadrā or Sadr al-Muta’allihīn, was a great scholar of philosophy during the time of the Safavids. After the death of his father, Mullā Sadrā moved to a village called “Kahak” (near Qum), where he spent a lot of his time in deep thought and contemplation.

Mullā Sadrā would continuously go to Makka for pilgrimage and it was on his return from the seventh of these journeys that he died in Basra, in the year 1050 A.H.
His works include: Al-Hikmat al-Muta‘ālīyat fī al-Asfār al-‘Aqlīyah al-Arbi‘at (The Transcendent Wisdom Concerning the Four Intellectual Journeys), Kitāb al-Mashā‘ir (The Book of Metaphysical Penetrations) and Al-Hikmat al-‘Arshīyat (The Wisdom of the Throne).

Whenever Mullā Sadrā encountered any scholarly problems he would travel to Qum and pay homage to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and through her guidance, he would be able to solve these problems.9

The late Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Shahāb al-Dīn Mar`ashī Najafī has said, “Whenever Mullā Sadrā faced a philosophical problem or something which he had difficulty in understanding, he would come to the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and ask for her assistance. With her help, he would invariably find the answers which he was searching for.” 10

3. The resolution of the difficulties of Ayatollah Najafī by Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

The late Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Shahāb al-Dīn Mar`ashī Najafī narrates, “When I was young, I faced some difficult times, the most difficult of which was when I wanted to get my daughter married and did not have the money or possessions for her trousseau.

With sadness in my heart I went to the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and with tears in my eyes, I asked reproachfully, ‘Oh my Lady and Mistress, why do you not care about my life? How can I get my daughter married with these empty hands?’

After pleading in this manner, I returned home. I dozed off and in my dream I heard someone knocking at my door. I opened it, there stood a person who said: ‘The lady is seeking you.’ I quickly went to the shrine.

When I entered the courtyard, I saw a number of ladies cleaning the golden porch. I asked them why they were cleaning so thoroughly, they replied that the lady was coming soon. After a little time, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) appeared. Her appearance and manner, was just like my grandmother, Lady Fatima Zahra (A), whom I had previously seen in my dreams three times.
I went closer to my aunt, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and kissed her hand. She said to me: ‘Oh Shahāb! When have we not thought of you, that you now expect harshness from us and are complaining. You have been under our eyes since the time you have arrived in Qum and we have been granting you your desires.’

When I woke from my sleep. I understood that I had been impolite in my approach to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and so I immediately went to her shrine to apologize and ask for her forgiveness. Soon after that, my problems were solved and my life became easier.11

This is a mention of only a few of the miracles as there is not enough space in this book to mention more. However, probably, the greatest of all the miracles of this noble lady is her influence on this city of Qum which has become what it is, due to her presence, guidance, inspiration and blessing.

The Site of Miracles - The Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)
  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 219.
  • 2. The family of the Safavids reigned in Iran for 230 years, from 905AH until 1135AH. The rulers were: Shāh Ismā`īl I, Shāh Tahmasb I, Shāh Ismā`īl II, Shāh `Abbās I, Shāh afīy, Shāh `Abbās II, Shāh Sulaymān, Shāh Sultān Husain, Shāh Tahmāsb II, Shāh Ismā`īl III and Shāh `Abbās III.
  • 3. The reign of the Qājārs in Iran was from 1200 A.H until 1339 A.H. The rulers were: Āqā Muhammad Khān, Fath Ali Shāh, Muhammad Shāh, Nāsir al- Dīn Shāh, Muzaffar al-Dīn Shāh, Muhammad Ali Shāh and Ahmad Shāh.
  • 4. Ganjīne-ye Athār-e Qum, p. 10.
  • 5. Cited from the monthly newspaper of the holy shrine in Qum, Payām-e Āstān, 23/09/1379 Hejrī Shamsī, p. 4.
  • 6. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 100, p. 121.
  • 7. Cited from, Hadrat-e Ma`sūma – Fātima-ye Duvvum, pp. 227 & 228.
  • 8. Anwār al-Masha`sha`īn, vol. 1, p. 216.
  • 9. Shaykh `Abbās Qummī , Fawā’id al-Radawīyah, p. 379.
  • 10. Ghanjīne-ye Dānishmandān, vol. 1, p. 39.
  • 11. `Alī Rafī`ī, Shahāb-e Sharī`at (Biography of Ayatollah Mar`ashī Najafī), p. 288.
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The Holy City of Qum

4.1 - Introduction

Qum is the smallest province in Iran. It was previously a district belonging to the state of Arāk, then it was attached to Tehran until it was finally certified as an independent province.
The province has an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres. It is bounded by Tehran and Sāweh to the north, Delījān and Kāshān to the south, and the Salt Lake and Tafresh to the east. The province includes one city, four regions, nine rural districts and 256 villages. Since it adjoins the central desert, Qum has a semi-desert climate.

In 1947 C.E, its population was no more than 150,000 but by the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 CE, the population of Qum had reached about 400,000. After the revolution, the city underwent rapid growth and its current population approaches 1,000,000, a large number of whom are religious students coming from all over the world to study in this great centre of Islamic Learning, under the holy patronage and in the blessed presence of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).
Aside from being a world-renowned centre of Islamic knowledge, Qum is also:
• an agricultural city, producing wheat, cotton, pomegranate, fig, pistachio and melon.

• an industrial city, manufacturing carpets, pottery, plastic products and building materials.

• a commercial city, due to its location at the crossroads that connects northern Iran to its south, and the vast number of pilgrims.

A slight disadvantage of Qum’s location is that its main water supply is through the salty rivers that come from the mountains around it.

4.2 - The history of Qum

In the period just before the advent of Islam, Qum was populated by Zoroastrians. The city was conquered by the Muslims in 23 A.H, under the command of Abū Mūsā Ash`arī, and has remained Muslim since.1

In 66 A.H, after the uprising of Mukhtār (who was seeking revenge for the murder of Imam Husain (A) in Karbalā), a group of his Shi`a followers from the Banī Asad tribe travelled from Kufa to Qum, and took refuge in the area of Jamkarān.2

In the year 83 A.H, a large number of Arabs belonging to the Ash`arī tribe of Yemen, migrated and settled in this region and repopulated the city.

From the beginning of its Islamic history, the city of Qum became the centre of the Shi`a in the area, and by the end of the first Islamic century, more than 6000 Shi`a had settled in the city.
The Shi`a of this city revolted against the Umayyad caliphs and after the inception of the Abbasid caliphate in 132 A.H, they also remained at odds with the Abbasid caliphs.

In the year 200 A.H, when Imam al-Ridā (A) was on his way from Madina to Khurāsān, he passed through Qum, and the house where he stayed was later converted into a Madrasah (an Islamic seminary).3

In the year 201 A.H, Lady Fatima Masuma (A) came to the city, and after a brief illness, she died and was buried there. Her sacred grave became a pilgrimage site for the Shi`a, and the city of Qum was thereafter popularly called “Qum-e Muqaddas” (the Holy Qum).

Over the centuries, Qum emerged as a Shi`a learning centre. The Islamic Seminaries (al-Hawzah al-`Ilmīyah) in Qum became particularly popular after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and also due to the decline of the seminaries in Najaf, following the persecution of the hostile regime in Iraq.

4.3 - The Islamic Seminaries of Qum

Qum is well known for its many religious seminaries and institutes that offer advanced religious studies. These collectively make up the Hawzah (a short form of al-Hawzah al-`Ilmīyah), which presently consists of over 200 education and research centres and organisations, catering for over 40,000 scholars and students from over 80 countries of the world.

From the earliest arrival of the Shi`a in the first Islamic century, schools and Madrasahs were set up for learning and propagating the teachings of the Prophet (S) and his household (A).
The first of these Madrasahs is attributed to the Ash`arī family, who settled in Qum towards the end of the first century and set up a Hawzah. When Imam al-Sādiq (A) heard about this establishment, he gave the good tidings of the future greatness of Qum.4

The Hawzah gained strength and was further blessed with a visit by Imam al-Ridā (A) at the beginning of the third century. The house in which Imam (A) resided was later converted to a Madrasah, known as “al-Radawīyah”.5

However, it was after Lady Fatima Masuma (A) was buried in Qum, that Shi`a scholars began to gather around her shrine and Qum gained a reputation as a centre of higher religious learning.
During this period there were many great Shi`a scholars, including Ahmad ibn Ishāq Ash`arī Qummī, who was the deputy of Imam al-`Askarī (A) in Qum and who was privileged to have been shown the infant Imam al-Mahdī (A).
Under the orders of Imam al-`Askarī (A), Ahmad ibn Ishāq built the oldest mosque in Qum today, the Masjid-e Imam.6

Probably the greatest Qummi scholar of the fourth century was Shaykh Abū Ja`far Muhammad ibn Ali Bābawayh Qummī, popularly known as Shaykh Sadūq (d. 381 A.H). It is famously reported that he was born as a result of the prayer of Imam al-Mahdī (A).

The Hawzah continued to gain strength and the sixth century writer, Shaykh `Abd al-Jalīl Rāzī, reported over ten active Madrasahs in Qum at his time.
The Safavids, who ruled Iran from 905 A.H until 1135 A.H, were great patrons of the Hawzah and provided financial assistance for the construction of new Madrasahs and for improving the facilities for the students.
It was at this time that the Madrasah Faydīyah was built.

Great scholars of Qum of this era include, Mullā Sadrā Shīrāzī, (the author of Asfār), and his two illustrious sons-in-law, Mullā Muhsin Fayd and Mullā `Abd al-Razzāq Fayyād. Shaykh Bahā’ī is also reported to have spent some time in Madrasah Faydīyah during this period.7
The presence of these great scholars in Qum was a great boost for the Hawzah and their influence persisted in the rule of the Qājārs, who ruled Iran between 1200 A.H and 1339 A.H. During this time, the Hawzah was under the guardianship of great scholars such as, Grand Ayatollah Mīrzā Abū al-Qāsim Qummī, Grand Ayatollah Mīrzā Muhammad Fayd and Grand Ayatollah Shaykh `Abd al-Karīm Hā’irī.

Grand Ayatollah Hā’irī (d. 1355 A.H) is credited with reviving the Hawzah of Qum and setting the foundation of the present day organisation. He organised the classes and syllabi, devised a system of examinations, arranged the stipends for the students and brought uniformity to the formal dress of the scholars. During his time, the Hawzah gained world-wide fame and over 3,000 students flocked to Qum to study. Some of the well known scholars who studied under him were Grand Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammad Ali Arākī, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Ridā Gulpaygānī and Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhullāh Khomeini.
After the passing away of Grand Ayatollah Hā’irī, the running of the Hawzah fell to the responsibility of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat, then Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sadr al-Dīn Sadr and then Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Taqī Khānsārī.

Then came the era of the eminent scholar, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Husain Burūjerdī (d. 1380 A.H), under whom the Hawzah gained new heights. He built a great mosque next to the shrine of the Lady Fatima Masuma, called “Masjid-e A`đam”.

After the victory of Islamic Revolution in Iran, the political pressure on the Hawzah and religious scholars and students was removed and the activities of the Hawzah were expanded.
At present, a high council of scholars (Shurā-ye `Ālī-ye Hawze-ye `Ilmīyeh-ye Qum) appointed by the Supreme Leader and Grand Ayatollahs (marāji`) supervise the Hawzah. Under this council, there is an administrative body that runs the religious training of over 40,000 students in Qum.

4.4 - Other places of interest in Qum

Museum of the holy shrine

The museum, which is called “the Āstāne Museum”, is attached to the Madrasah Faydīyah, abutting the new courtyard. It contains the gifts and bequests that have made to Lady Fatima Masuma (A) over the years by various well-wishers.

Prior to the establishment of the museum in 1314 A.H./1925 C.E, the endowed treasures of the sanctuary which are now on display were stored in what was termed "the treasury". The treasury was deemed necessary by the custodians of the sanctuary after a spate of thefts at the end of the Safavid period.

In 1992 C.E, as a result of the extra acquisitions of the museum, the basement level of the building was refashioned and annexed to the museum. The result was a museum complex, including administrative rooms, display areas and restoration facilities in some 1000 square metres. The displays are on two floors and include costly carpets, coinage, artwork and rare manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an.

Masjid-e Jamkarān

This mosque was built in 293 A.H, during the Minor Occultation (al-Ghaybat al-Sughrā) of Imam Mahdī (A), and according to his recommendation.

The Mosque of Jamkaran

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Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Shahāb al-Dīn Mar`ashī Najafī (d. 1411 A.H) writes, “This mosque was established from the earliest days of the Ghaybah…8 Imam al-Mahdi (A) has been continuously seen at this mosque since that time...Shaykh Sadūq enlarged the mosque and during the Safavid era it was repaired several times...I personally have witnessed numerous miraculous events at this mosque...In short, there is no doubt that this mosque is one of the frequenting places of Imam Mahdi (A), and, after Masjid-e Sahlah in Kufa, it is the most probable site for a viewing of the Imam (A).”9

The mosque is situated six kilometres to the south-east of Qum, and draws large crowds of pilgrims, especially on Tuesday nights. According to many reports, this is the night on which the Imam (A) visits this mosque.

Musallā-ye Quds

This is a large mosque situated near Safā’īyeh Square in Qum and is the location for the weekly Friday prayers. Presently, the three Imams of Friday prayers are, Ayatollah Ali Meshkīnī, Ayatollah Ibrāhīm Amīnī and Ayatollah Jawādī Āmulī.

The huge silver-coloured dome of this beautiful mosque, which is currently under construction, is a familiar landmark in Qum.

Various shrines of children of the Imams (A)

Various members of the family of  (A) migrated to Iran after Imam al-Ridā (A) moved to Khurāsān. After the martyrdom of the Imam (A), many of them came to settle in Qum, the major Shi`i centre at the time. It is estimated that there are over 400 graves of these members of the family of the Imams (Imāmzādehs) in Qum. 10
Some of these graves are within the holy shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A). They are situated at different locations in the shrine, some with small domes of their own. These days, the chambers in which their graves are situated also serve as administrative offices for the various departments in charge of the shrine.
Other graves are scattered around the city, for example:
• Mūsā Mubarqa`, son of Imam Taqī (A) is buried in Āzar Square, where there is also a large burial site called “Chehel Akhtarān” which was reserved as a burial area for the descendants of the Prophet (S).

• Imāmzādeh Ahmad, the grandson of Imam al-Sādiq (A), is buried at “Darvāzeh Qal`eh” in the southern side of Qum.

• Ali ibn Ja`far (A) is buried in “Chahār Mardān.”

There is a narration that whenever one visits these graves of the pious descendants of the Prophet (S), one should recite the following salutation:11

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ اَيُّها السِّيِّدُ الزَّكِيُّ، اَلطّاهِرُ الْوَلِيُّ، الدّاعِي الْحَفِيُّ، اَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ قُلْتَ حَقًّا وَنَطَقْتَ حَقًّا وَصِدْقًا وَدَعَوْتَ اِلَى مَوْلايَ وَمَوْلاكَ عَلانِيَةً وَسِرًّا، فازَ مُتَّبِعُكَ وَنَجَى مُصَدِّقُكَ وَخابَ وَخَسِرَمُكَذِّبُكَ وَالْمُتَخَلِّفُ عَنْكَ، اِشْهَدْ لِي بِهِذهِ الشَّهادَةِ لاَِكُونَ مِنَ الْفائِزينَ بِمَعْرِفَتِكَ وَطاعَتِكَ وَتَصْدِيقِكَ وَاتِّباعِكَ، وَاَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا سَيِّدِي؛ اَنْتَ بابُ اللهِ الْمُؤْتَى مِنْهُ وَالْمَأْخُودُ عَنْهُ، اَتَيْتُكَ زائِرًا وَحاجاتِي لَكَ مُسْتَوْدِعًا، وَها اَنَا ذا اَسْتَوْدِعُكَ دينِي وَاَمانَتِي وَخَواتِيمَ عَمَِلي وَجَوامِعَ اَمَلِي اِلى مُنْتَهى اَجَلِى، وَاَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُه

4.5 - Traditions about the virtues of Qum

There are many traditions narrated from the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A) about the virtues of Qum, and a few are narrated below:
1. `Affān Basrī narrates that Imam al-Sādiq (A) asked him:

أَتَدْري لِمَ سُمِّيَتْ قُمّ قُمّ

“Do you know why Qum has been named ‘Qum’?”

I answered: ‘God, the Prophet (S) and you are more knowledgeable.’ Imam (A) replied:

إِنَّما سُمِّيَتْ قُمّ، لأَِنَّ أَهْلَها يَجْتَمِعُونَ مَعَ قائِمِ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَيَقُومُونَ مَعَهُ، وَيَسْتَقيمُونَ عَلَيْهِ وَيَنْصُرُونَهُ

“Qum has been so named because the people of Qum will gather around the Steadfast Imam of the household of the Prophet (S) [Qā’im-e Āl-e Muhammad; Imam Mahdī (A)]; they will make a stand (Qīyām) under his banner, stay loyal to him and be helpers for him.”12

2. The Prophet (S) narrates that at the time of his Mi`rāj [Ascension to the Heavens], his attention was drawn to a land which stood out [Qum]. He asked Jibrā’īl about it and Jibrā’īl answered:

بُقْعَةُ شيعَتِكَ وَشيعَةِ وَصِيِّكَ عَلِيٍّ

“This is the land of your Shi`a and the Shi`a of your successor, Ali.”

In the beginning of this tradition, it is narrated that the Prophet (S) banished Satan from this area, saying to him:

قُمْ يا مَلْعُونُ

“Get away, Oh cursed one!”

And this is how the name of Qum came about.13

3. Imam al-Kāđim (A) has said:

قُمّ عُشُّ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمَأْوى شيعَتِهِمْ، وَلكِنْ سَيُهْلَكُ جَماعَةٌ مِنْ شَبابِهِمْ بِمَعْصِيَةِ آبائِهِمْ وَالإِسْتِخْفافِ وَالسُّخْرِيَّةِ بِكُبَرائِهِمْ وَمَشايِخِهِمْ، وَمَعَ ذالِكَ يَدْفَعُ اللهُ عَنْهُمْ شَرَّ الأَعادي وَكُلَّ سُوءٍ

Qum is the home of the family of the Prophet (S) and a sanctuary for their Shi`a. However, a group from their youth will be destroyed due to their disobedience to their fathers and their belittling and insulting of their great figures and elders. However, Allah will defend them [the people of Qum] from the evil intent of their enemies and from any unpleasant event.”14

4. Imam al-Kāđim (A) has said:

رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ قُمّ يَدْعُو النَّاسَ إِلَى الْحَقِّ، يَجْتَمِعُ مَعَهُ قَوْمٌ كَزُبُرِ الْحَديدِ، لا تُزِلُّهُمُ الرِّياحُ الْعَواصِفُ، وَلايَمَلُّونَ مِنَ الْحَرْبِ، وَلا يَجْبُنُونَ، وَعَلَى اللهِ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ، وَالْعاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقينَ

“A man from the people of Qum will call the people towards the truth. A group of men will be attracted to him like pieces of iron to a magnet. Strong winds will not shake them. They will not flinch from war and they will not be afraid; they will trust in Allah; and the [good] end belongs to the pious.”15

5. Imam al-Sādiq (A) has said:

سَتَخْلُو كُوفَةُ مِنَ الْمُؤمِنينَ وَيَأْزَرُ عَنَهَا الْعِلْمُ كَما تأزَرُ الحَيَّةُ فى جُحْرِها، ثُمَّ يَظْهَرُ الْعِلْمُ بِبَلْدَةٍ يُقالُ لَها قُمُّ، وَيَصيرُ مَعْدِناً لِلْعِلْمِ وَالفَضْلِ حَتَّى لا يَبْقى فِى الأرْضِ مُسْتَضْعَفٌ فى الدّينِ حَتَّى الْمُخَدَّراتِ في الْحِجالِ، وَذلِكَ عِنْدَ قُرْبِ ظُهُورِ قائِمِنا

“Soon Kufa will become empty of the faithful, and knowledge will go out of Kufa as a snake goes out of its lair. Then the knowledge will appear in a land called Qum. It will become the centre of knowledge and merits. No-one, not even the women at home, will be unaware of the religion of God. This will be close to the time of the reappearance of our Qā’im (Imam Mahdī).”16

Islamic Republic of Iran
  • 1. Fath al-Buldān, Balādharī, p. 384; Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, pp. 25 & 26.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 38.
  • 3. Farhat al-Qārī, Sayyid ibn Tāwūs, p. 105.
  • 4. See hadith no. 5 below, under traditions about the virtues of Qum.
  • 5. Farhat al-Qārī, p. 105.
  • 6. A`yān al-Shī`a, vol. 2, p. 478.
  • 7. Tārīkh-e Madhhabī-ye Qum, p. 131.
  • 8. For details on how the mosque came to be constructed, see Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 3, p. 175.
  • 9. Bar Setīgh-e Nūr, The life of Grand Ayatollah Shahāb al-Dīn Mar`ashī Najafī, p. 94.
  • 10. Hadrat-e Ma`sūma – Fātima-ye Duvvum, p. 272.
  • 11. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 102, p. 272.
  • 12. Ibid., vol. 60, p. 216; Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 100.
  • 13. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 18, p. 407; Shaykh adūq, `Ilal al-Sharā-`i, p. 572.
  • 14. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 214; Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 98.
  • 15. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 216; Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 100.
  • 16. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 60, p. 213; Tārīkh-e Qadīm-e Qum, p. 95.
Image: 

The Pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

5.1 - The merits of the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

There have been many traditions from the Imams (A) about the rewards awarded to those who perform the pilgrimage of this noble lady, some of which are mentioned below:

1. Imam al-Sādiq (A) has said:

وَسَتُدْفَنُ فيها امْرَأةٌ مِنْ اَوْلادي تُسَمّى فاطِمَةَ، فَمَنْ زارَها وَجَبَتْ لَهُ الجنّة

“A lady from my children, by the name of Fatima will be buried in Qum. Whoever visits her [shrine], will certainly be admitted to Heaven.”1

2. Imam al-Sādiq (A) has also said:

اِنَّ زِيارَتََََها تََََعْدِلُ الجَنَّة

“Visiting her earns Heaven.”2

3. Sa`d ibn Sa`d al-Ash`arī narrates, “I asked Imam al-Ridā (A) about the reward awarded for performing the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) and the Imam (A) replied:”

مَنْ زارَها فَلَهُ الجنّة

“Whoever visits her [shrine], his reward will be Heaven.”3

4. Imam al-Ridā (A) has also said:

مَنْ زارَها عارِفاً بِحَقِّها فَلَهُ الجنّة

“Whoever visits her [shrine], while knowing and being aware of her high status, the reward for him will be Heaven.”4

5. Imam al-Ridā (A) has also said:

مَنْ زارالْمَعْصومَةَ بِقُمّ كَمَنْ زارَني

“Whoever visits Masuma in Qum, it is like he has visited me.”5

And Imam al-Ridā (A) has also said:

اَلا فَمَنْ زارَني وَهُوَ عَلى غُسْلٍ، خَرَجَ مِن ْذنوبِهِ كَيومٍ وَلَدَتْهُ اُمُّهُ

“Be aware, whoever visits me in a state of purity [after doing ghusl], he will come out of sin and become cleansed [purified of sin], as if he has just been born from his mother.”6

Therefore, it follows that that same purity is obtained from performing the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A).

6. A Shi`a went to perform the pilgrimage of Imam al-Ridā (A) and after the pilgrimage he decided to go to Karbalā. On his way, he saw Imam al-Ridā (A) in a dream. Imam (A) said to him, “Why did you not also pass through Qum and perform the pilgrimage at the grave of my sister?”7

7. Mullā Haydar Khānsārī narrates a tradition from Imam al-Ridā (A): “Whoever is unable to perform my pilgrimage, he should perform the pilgrimage of my brother in Ray [Hadrat Hamzah, buried near Hadrat `Abd al-`Ađīm] or my sister [Lady Fatima Masuma (A)] in Qum. He will get the same reward as he would for performing my pilgrimage.”8

1. Imam Muhammad Taqī al-Jawād (A) has said:

مَنْ زارَ عَمَّتي بِقُمّ فَلَهُ الجَنَّةُ

“Whoever visits my aunt [Lady Fatima Masuma (A)] in Qum, will enter Heaven.”9

From the foregoing traditions we can see the immense reward, narrated from three Imams (A), of performing the pilgrimage of this noble lady.

An interesting point is that, in tradition no. 5 above, Imam al-Ridā (A) has made the reward of performing the pilgrimage of Lady Fatima Masuma (A) equal to that of performing pilgrimage at his own grave.

It is also interesting to compare this tradition with the following: Imam al-Sādiq (A) was asked, “what is the reward of someone who performs the pilgrimage of one of the Imams (A)?” Imam (A) replied:

كَمَنْ زارَ رَسولَ الله

“It is like he has visited the Prophet (S) of Allah.”10

5.2 - Etiquettes of the pilgrimage

The following points should be borne in mind at the time of going to the holy shrine for Ziyārat:
Before going to the shrine, purify yourself by performing the ritual bath (ghusl).

Then with clean, perfumed clothes go to the shrine. Before entering the hall of the burial chamber, one must recite the short request of permission to enter (idhn-e dukhūl).

Then enter with the right foot, with humility and reverence, face the Qiblah and recite:
Allāhu Akbar (الله اكبر - Allah is Greater) 34 times;
Subhān Allāh (سبحان الله - Glory be to Allah) 33 times;
Allhamdu Lillāh (الحمد لله - All praise is for Allah) 33 times.
On first seeing the tomb, recite the Salawāt, then recite the Ziyārat facing her shrine, with full concentration and awareness of the meaning of the words you are saying and of the personality you are addressing.

After completing the Ziyārat, recite two units of prayer (salāt), which is recommended after every Ziyārat. This prayer demonstrates the fact that while we revere the personalities that we have addressed in the Ziyārat, it is only Allah Whom we worship. All prostrations are for Allah only, and prostration for anyone else is forbidden.

أتقرّب إلى الله بحبّكم

“[O Ahl al-Bayt!] I seek nearness to Allah through my love for you.

  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 317; vol. 60, p. 216 & vol. 102, p. 266.
  • 2. Ibid., vol. 60, p. 219.
  • 3. `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 267.
  • 4. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 317.
  • 5. Nāsikh al-Tawārīkh, vol. 3, p. 68; Rayāhīn al-Sharī`a, vol. 5, p. 35.
  • 6. `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridāa, vol. 2, p. 260.
  • 7. Anwār al-Masha`sha`īn, vol. 1, p. 212.
  • 8. Mullā Haydar Khwānsārī, Zubdat al-Tasānīf, vol. 6, p. 159.
  • 9. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 102, p. 265.
  • 10. `Uyūn Akhbār al-Ridā, vol. 2, p. 262.

Ziyārat (salutation) of Lady Fatima Masuma (A)

السلام على آدم صفوة الله

Peace be on Adam, the Selected one of Allah.

السلام على نوح نبيّ الله

Peace be on Nūh, the Prophet of Allah.

السلام على ابراهيم خليل الله

Peace be on Ibrāhīm, the Friend of Allah.

السلام على موسى كليم الله

Peace be on Mūsā, who was Spoken with by Allah.

السلام على عيسى روح الله

Peace be on `sā, the Spirit of Allah.

السلام عليك يا رسول الله

Peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah.

السلام عليك يا خيرخلق الله

Peace be on you, O Best of Allah’s creatures.

السلام عليك يا صفى الله

Peace be on you, O Selected one of Allah.

السلام عليك يا محمّد بن عبد الله خاتم النّبيّين

Peace be on you, O Muhammad son of `Abdullāh, the Seal of the Prophets.

السلام عليك يا امير المؤمنين علي بن ابي طالب
وصيّ رسول الله

Peace be on you, O Commander of the Faithful, Ali son of Abū Tālib, and the Successor of the Messenger of Allah.

السلام عليك يا فاطمة سيّدة نساء العالمين

Peace be on you, O Fatima, the leader of the women of the worlds.

السلام عليكما يا سبطى نبىّ الرّحمة وسيّدى شباب اهل الجنّة

Peace be on you, O the two grandsons of the Prophet of mercy, and the masters of the youth of Heaven.

السلام عليك يا علي بن الحسين سيّد العابدين وقرّة عين النّاظرين

Peace be on you, O Ali son of Husain, the leader of worshippers, O tranquillity for those who gaze at you.

السلام عليك يا محمّد بن عليّ باقر العلم بعد النّبيّ

Peace be on you, O Muhammad son of Ali,
O revealer of knowledge after the Prophet.

السلام عليك يا جعفر بن محمّد الصّادق البارّ الأمين

Peace be on you, O Ja`far son of Muhammad,
the truthful, the righteous, the trusted.

السلام عليك يا موسى بن جعفر الطّاهر الطّهر

Peace be on you, O Mūsā son of Ja`far,
the pure, the purified.

السلام عليك يا على بن موسى الرّضا المرتضى

Peace be on you, O Ali son of Mūsā,
the pleased, the pleasing.

السلام عليك يا محمّد بن عليّ التّقيّ

Peace be on you, O Muhammad son of Ali,
the pious.

السلام عليك يا عليّ بن محمّد النّقيّ النّاصح الأمين

Peace be on you, O Ali son of Muhammad,
the pure, the benevolent, the trusted.

السلام عليك يا حسن بن عليّ

Peace be on Hasan son of Ali.

السلام على الوصيّ من بعده

Peace be on the successor after him.

اللّهمّ صلّ على نورك وسراجك ووليّ وليّك ووصيّ وصيّك وحجّتك على خلقك

O Allah, Bless Your light and torch, the heir of your vicegerent, the successor of Your appointed successor and guide for mankind.

السلام عليك يا بنت رسول الله

Peace be on you, O daughter of the Messenger of Allah!

السلام عليك يا بنت فاطمة وخديجة

Peace be on you, O daughter of Fatima and Khadījah!

السلام عليك يا بنت امير المؤمنين

Peace be on you, O daughter of
the Commander of the Faithful!

السلام عليك يا بنت الحسن والحسين

Peace be on you, O daughter of
Hasan and Husain!

السلام عليك يا بنت وليّ الله

Peace be on you, O daughter of
the vicegerent of Allah!

السلام عليك يا أخت وليّ الله

Peace be on you, O sister of
the vicegerent of Allah!

السلام عليك يا عمّة وليّ الله

Peace be on you, O aunt of the vicegerent of Allah!

السلام عليك يا بنت موسى بن جعفر
ورحمة الله وبركاته

Peace be on you, O daughter of
Mūsā son of Ja`far! May Allah shower
His mercy and blessings on you!

السلام عليك عرّف الله بيننا وبينكم فى الجنّة

Peace be on you.
May Allah grant us your companionship in Heaven,

وحشرنا فى زمرتكم

And put us in your group,

وأوردنا حوض نبيّكم

And lead us to your Prophet’s Fountain,

وسقانا بكأس جدّكم منّ يّد علىّ ابن ابى طالب
صلوات الله عليكم

And quench our thirst out of your grandfather’s own cup, in the hand of Ali. May Allah bless you all!

أسأ ل الله أن ّيرينا فيكم السّرور والفرج

I ask Allah to grant us, through you,
happiness and ease,

وأن يجمعنا وإيّاكم فى زمرة جدّكم محمّد
صلّى الله عليكم

And to brings us and you into the group of your grandfather, Muhammad. May Allah bless you all!

وأن لا يسلبنا معرفتكم إنّه وليّ قدير

And not to deprive us from understanding your status. Truly, He is the Guardian and is All-powerful.

أتقرّب إلى الله بحبّكم والبراءة من اعدائكم

I seek nearness to Allah through my love for you, and through my enmity for your enemies,

والتّسليم إلى الله راضيا به غير منكر ولا مستكبر

And I surrender to Allah willingly, neither denying nor being arrogant,

وعلى يقين ما أتى به محمّد وبه راض

And I accept with unshaken faith what was brought by Muhammad, and am content with that.

نطلب بذالك وجهك يا سيّدي اللّهمّ ورضاك
والدّار الآخرة

We seek Your providence by this, O my Master! And Your pleasure in the next world, O my Lord!

يا فاطمة ٱشفعى لى فى الجنّة
فانّ لك عند الله شأناً مّن الشّأن

O Fatima! Intercede for me, so that I enter Heaven,
for indeed you have a great status in the eyes of Allah!

اللّهمّ إنّى اسألك أن تختم لى بالسّعادة
فلا تسلب منّي ما أنا فيه

O Allah, I ask You to make my destiny good,
and not to take away what I have [out of Your favour] at present.

لا حول ولا قوّة إلا بالله العليّ العظيم

There is no might or power save that of Allah, the Exalted, the Great.

اللّهمّ استجب لنا وتقبّله بكرمك وعزّتك
وبرحمتك وعافيتك

So by Your Generosity, Honour, Mercy and Bounteousness, accept our supplication.

وصلّى الله على محمّد وآله أجمعين وسلّم تسليماً
يا أرحم الرّاحمين

And may the blessings of Allah shower on Muhammad and all his household and give them abundance and peace. O the most Merciful of the merciful!

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